Business, Economics and Jobs

Amazon launches free web-based Kindle Cloud Reader


The Amazon homepage is seen in Washington on Dec. 9, 2010 advertising its new Kindle e-reader.


Nicholas Kamm

Amazon on Wednesday launched the Kindle Cloud Reader, a Web-based app that lets eBook readers access their digital Kindle books using only a browser — online or offline — thus sidestepping Apple's strict new in-app purchasing rules for the App Store.

The application — a web-based version of the Kindle eBook reader app — is available online now for the Safari browser on the iPad or a desktop and on the Chrome browser, and will be available for Internet Explorer, Firefox, the BlackBerry PlayBook browsers and others in coming months, Amazon said in a statement, reported by Computerworld.

According to CNN:

Amazon didn't name Apple in its press release, but it did take pains to specifically point out one of the Kindle Cloud's features: "Without even leaving the app, customers can start shopping in the Kindle Store."

The reader allows users to read books from the cloud or download for offline reading, using HTML 5 (or a Chrome browser extension). Bookmarks, notes and highlights are also stored and the reader automatically syncs to a user's personal Kindle library and last page read.

The Financial Times and ESPN have each built new mobile apps in HTML5, CNN reports.

Apple recently told Amazon and others that they couldn’t link to their own stores from their iOS apps, TechCrunch reports.

CNN writes that:

Apple's goal is to steer more of the revenue for content purchases through its own in-app payment system, which typically nets Apple a 30 percent cut of the sales. Apple laid out the first version of its controversial new rules in February, but then quietly softened them in June after massive blowback from publishers.

Amazon didn't immediately respond to CNN's request for comment about whether it would pull its iOS Kindle app from the App Store.

The Kindle Store has more than 950,000 Kindle books, many of them free.