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Amazon unveils Kindle book reader for PCs

The free software application is expected to be released in November. It will run on the Windows 7, Vista and XP operating systems from Microsoft.

October 23, 2009|Alex Pham

Most people think of Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle as a slim piece of hardware the size of a very thin paperback book.

In fact, Kindle is also software that displays digital books on any device Amazon chooses. On Thursday, the Seattle online retailing giant unveiled a Kindle version for computers.

The application was part of Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system launch event Thursday in New York. Expected to be released in November, the program will also run on Microsoft's earlier operating systems, Windows XP and Windows Vista.

Dubbed Kindle for PC, the free software will enable readers to view full-color photos and use touch screens to browse books, turn pages and adjust font sizes for digital books purchased at Amazon's online bookstore.

Amazon has released a version of the reader for Apple Inc.'s iPhone and iPod Touch devices.

Amazon's announcement came days after rival bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc. said it would start selling its own device, the nook.

Due to ship in November, the $259 reader features the same gray-scale E Ink Corp. screen as the Kindle, but the nook also has a separate color touch screen. Nook owners also can share their books with friends for up to 14 days at a time.

In contrast, the Kindle 2 and the Kindle DX, two devices sold by Amazon, have only the gray-scale screens and don't allow users to "lend" digital copies of their books to others.

By releasing Kindle for PC, Amazon is expanding the audience for its digital books beyond just readers who can afford to buy its $259 device to about 1 billion of the world's PC users.

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alex.pham@latimes.com

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