Amazon launches Kindle ebook reader for Macs
Amazon attempts to see off the threat posed by Apple's iPad by launching software that allows people to download and read electronic books on a Mac.
The free Kindle for Mac application will give users access to more than 325,000 books in the Kindle Store, allowing them to download and read the ebooks on their computer, and even add a virtual bookmark to a page so they do not lose their place.
Amazon has its own range of Kindle ebook readers, which have sold well in the United States. The first Kindle device was launched in the UK last October, but British consumers have been slower to embrace the digital reading revolution.
The online retailer has attempted to expand the presence of its Kindle brand by making the software for downloading and reading electronic books available on a variety of other platforms, such as the iPhone and Windows-based PCs, rather than just Kindle devices.
“Kindle for Mac is the perfect companion application for customers who own a Kindle or Kindle DX,” said Jay Marine, director of Amazon's Kindle division.
“For those customers around the world who don’t yet have a Kindle, Kindle for Mac is a great way to instantly access and read the most popular new releases as well as their old favourites.”
The Kindle for Mac application will synchronise books and bookmarks between a Mac and a Kindle device. Amazon said it would be adding more features to the software in the coming months, including the ability to search the text of a book, create 'notes', and add highlights and annotations.
The launch next month of Apple's iPad, a tablet-style computer, is seen as a major threat to Amazon's dominance of the ebook space.
The iPad will feature a virtual bookshop, the iBookstore, through which users will be able to download electronic books to read on their iPad.
Amazon said that it would develop a version of its existing iPhone Kindle app for the iPad, but privately there are concerns that Apple's move in to the ebook market, and the addition of an ebook store to the existing Apple iTunes and App Store ecosystem could steal customers from the Kindle store.