Apple iPad users shopping for Kindle books now have their own dedicated Web site that lets you touch and swipe through the online store.
A tour of the new Kindle iPad-optimized site reveals the same experience you'll find on the full Web site but with a few bonuses.
The Kindle Store page opens to display a list of recommended books based on your past purchases and searches. You can swipe through the list to see all of the books that Amazon thinks you'd like to buy. For me, Amazon's suggestions are typically on the money and offered a host of titles I'd consider purchasing.
Scrolling down the page points you to the top 100 paid and free e-books. Always interested in a bargain, I glanced through the freebies to find a lot of unfamiliar titles but also several classics, including "A Tale of Two Cities," "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," and "Frankenstein."
The left side of the home page displays a variety of categories that you can scroll through, such as New York Times Bestsellers, New and Noteworthy, and Newsstand, where you can buy or subscribe to different magazines. Below that list are the usual genres--Arts & Entertainment, Biographies, Computers & Internet, History, Mystery, Science Fiction, Travel, and more.
You can easily tap on any category or genre to explore its selections. You can also sort the various books displayed by best selling, price, customer review, or publication date.
Tapping on a specific book uncovers all its details, including price, description, and customer reviews. An option called Try a Sample lets you peek at the table of contents and some actual pages of the book if you're lucky. If the title strikes your fancy, just tap on the Buy button.
First-time buyers will need to go through the steps of creating an account and payment option. But if you've already set up Amazon's 1-Click payment, the site will either quickly process your payment or direct you to a payment method page for you to choose your credit card.
Once your order is processed, you can read the book via either Amazon's free Kindle app or return to the store and read it through the browser. Reading in the browser automatically opens Amazon's Cloud Reader.
Both Cloud Reader and the Kindle app offer a similar experience. You can swipe from one page to the next or move to a specific page using the bottom scroll bar or the Go to menu. You can also change the font and background color. From Cloud Reader, you can easily switch back to the Kindle Store page if you're in the mood for more book shopping.
I picked up a couple of free books and one paid book from the Kindle store. The purchase and download process worked quickly and smoothly. And viewing my books in either the Kindle app or Cloud Reader was equally user friendly. I also appreciate the option to store my books either locally or keep them in Amazon's cloud so that they don't squeeze up space on my iPad.
Beyond benefiting iPad users, the new Kindle Store page is likely to provide a financial boost to Amazon. By hawking items through its iPad and iPhone apps, Amazon has to kick in a 30 percent cut of each sale to Apple and share its customer details. But through its own dedicated Kindle iPad page, the bookseller can hang onto its healthy share of the profits.