Amazon Debuts ‘Cloud Reader’

Amazon.com announced today the debut of their Kindle Cloud Reader, which is a web-based application for reading Kindle e-books via your web browser. I have not had time to really give it a good going-over yet, but wanted to get this info out now so that you can take a look yourself if you are interested.

Currently it only supports the Google Chrome browser (PC, Mac, Linux, Chromebook) and Safari browser (PC, Mac, iPad), but Amazon says support for other browsers is coming “soon.” While the press release says that no downloading or installation is necessary, that is not entirely true: if you want to read books locally while not connected to the internet, you have to install a browser plug-in to allow you to right-click and then “download and pin” a book. The feature list from the press release includes:

  • An immersive view of your entire Kindle library, with instant access to all of your books
  • Start reading over 950,000 Kindle books instantly within your browser
  • An embedded Kindle Store optimized for your web browser makes it seamless to discover new books and start reading them instantly
  • New Kindle Store for iPad is built from the ground up for iPad’s touch interface
  • Your current book is automatically made available for offline use, and you can choose to save a book for reading offline at any time
  • Receive automatic software updates without the need to download new software
  • Select any book to start reading, customize the page layout to your desired font size, text color, background color, and more
  • View all of the notes, highlights, and bookmarks that you’ve made on other Kindle apps or on Kindle
  • Sync your last page read across your Kindle and free Kindle apps so you can always pick up where you left off

Here are a couple screen shots of the Chrome version (click to view full-sized image):

Cloud Reader home screen

Cloud Reader sample page

One suggestion I’ll be firing off to Amazon soon is to make the user interface more friendly to those of use with less than optimal vision. That gray-on-black scheme is not a good choice, usability-wise.