Amazon Reboots Kindle iPhone App


Amazon (AMZN) has made it easier to buy Kindle e-books on the Apple (AAPL) iPhone: It’s published a new iPhone-friendly Web site for ordering Kindle titles, which you can launch from the Kindle app’s “Get Books” button in the upper-right corner. Before, you had to use Amazon’s full-size Web site to buy books on your phone, or go to a computer (or Kindle) to buy them — not as elegant.

This is a smart improvement, but it’s probably not going to do much for Amazon’s Kindle business by itself. While it’s nice that it’s easier to buy e-books on an iPhone, it’s still not the best place to read them. Still, good that Amazon is improving its Kindle platform on non-Kindle devices, which could be an asset as competition in the e-book industry picks up.

Meanwhile, it’ll be interesting to see how Apple handles the Kindle app when it rolls out its new e-commerce platform in this summer’s iPhone 3.0 software update. The idea is that Apple will allow app-owners to charge for in-app virtual goods like e-books and magazine subscriptions using the iTunes platform, but taking a 30% cut in the process.

It seems far-fetched that Apple will immediately ban software titles — like the Kindle app and Amazon’s recently purchased Stanza e-book iPhone app — that use other e-commerce platforms for virtual goods. (And obviously Apple won’t force Amazon to pay a 30% cut for physical book purchases via Amazon’s main app.) But as far as virtual goods sales like e-books go, it’s possible Apple would pressure (or require) companies to use iTunes… especially if Apple decides it wants to get into the e-book/e-reader business itself someday.

Perhaps that’s why you still have to buy Kindle books in the iPhone’s Safari Web browser and not via a Web store that’s built into the Kindle app.