With the release of Windows 8 comes a whole new app ecosystem. Naturally, Amazon can’t really be leaving that alone for too long. Despite its detractors, Windows 8 seems to be off to a strong start and ongoing adoption will be a steady stream of users at the very least. To accommodate these users and all their eBook reading needs there is now a Kindle app available in the Windows Store.
The Kindle for Windows 8 app works pretty much as you would expect. On opening it for the first time you are asked to associate your account. From there you are presented with the Cloud view of your library. Selecting various titles and choosing to download them will list them under the Device heading. It’s about as easy to navigate as any library listing could possibly be without a built-in categorization system. Let’s get into specifics, though.
The Library is presented as a series of tiled cover images under the logo and Cloud/Device headings. Which of these headings you are currently navigating will determine whether you see all of your eBooks or just what you have downloaded locally. The tiles can be sorted alphabetically by author or title using the Sort option in the App Bar. You can also Sync your collection from here should you make a purchase that takes a bit to show up.
The Kindle Store is listed alongside the Cloud/Device headings. It is not actually part of the app. Clicking on the Kindle Store will open Amazon’s website in the browser where you can do all of your shopping. Integrated shopping would have been nice, but after dealing Apple’s exploitation of content sellers it’s understandable why Amazon didn’t want to put in the effort here.
The reading experience is basically the same that you get with any of the Kindle Apps. While there is no font choice, you can adjust font size and margin width. There are three color schemes to choose from: White on Black, Sepia, and Black on White. You can also lock the app to a single-column display.
Notes and highlighting are present and easy to use. Single-word selections will pull up the word’s definition via Dictionary.com. Any selection, whether a single word or a whole page, will offer the option to Highlight or add a Note.
The in-document app bar handles navigation more complex than single page turns. At the top of the screen you are given the Kindle App’s usual Go to… option along with the ability to skin through notes and highlights already in the book. At the bottom is the navigation slider that presents you with your current location in the book as well as the ability to quickly change your position.
Windows 8 is well integrated into the app. It is possible to search for books via the Charm Bar, Pin individual titles to the Start Screen, and adjust settings through the appropriate Charm.
Basically if you have had a Kindle app on one of your devices before then you know what to expect. It’s a big improvement over the preview app that had been in the Store and will likely be appreciated by anybody making use of Amazon’s ecosystem. After several hours of reading, I had no complaints about the software.