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It's a pretty slick deal of Amazon to open up its Kindle library to devices beyond those of the company's handheld book readers. But just because the Kindle software has gone multi-platform doesn't mean that it's a sure winner. No, it's the ease-of-use and almost iTunes-like functionality of this simple e-book reader that makes it a great piece of software for your desktop or laptop PC.
You can't do very much with Kindle for PC aside from read books purchased through Amazon's extensive library--which, in itself, makes sense. You wouldn't really want another piece of software to read PDFs, right? Joking aside, the one thing this software does, it does well. Grabbing new book titles from Amazon is as easy as logging into the Web site, hitting download, and waiting for the book to quickly refresh itself in your Kindle for PC home screen. Your collection of digital novels appears as the front covers of each title, and you can sort this list by the order in which you downloaded the e-books, their names, or the author's name.
The actual book-reading process in Kindle for PC is as simple as the physical process of flipping pages. Use your mouse to scroll up and down throughout your text, and add bookmarks to passages you find particularly interesting by clicking in the upper-right corner of the page (sure beats folding the corner down the ol'-fashioned way). You can change the font size on a whim and even select just how many words you want to appear on each line--the thickness of the e-book, as it were. Amazon is looking into allowing you to create customized notes in future versions of Kindle for PC, one of the few features missing from this simple piece of software.
Every Wednesday, Maximum PC picks a new free or shareware download as its favorite of the week. Have a nifty application that you can't live without? Twitter David Murphy @acererak with your latest suggestions.