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Amazon debuts Kindle for PC

New software offering lets people read Kindle e-books on their Windows computers. A version for the Mac is in the works.

Kindle book buyers can now read their books right from their PCs without having to buy a Kindle reader.

Amazon onTuesday made available its new Kindle for PC, free software that lets Kindle customers read their e-books on tablet PCs, Netbooks, notebooks, and other personal computers.

The software can be downloaded from the Kindle for PC page. The quick installation sets up the reader application, prompting you to log in and register with your Amazon account or create a new one. After logging in, you can download books that you've already purchased at the Kindle store or click on a link to buy new ones.

Microsoft had demonstrated the Kindle for PC software at its Windows 7 launch event in New York last month.

CNET News/Lance Whitney

Kindle for PC offers many of the options you'll find on a Kindle reader. You can increase or decrease the size of the font and change the width of the page and words per line. You can navigate from one page to another by clicking on the Next or Previous Page arrows or by using the scroll wheel on your mouse. You can jump to a specific page, such as the cover, table of contents, or last page read, and bookmark a specific location for future reference. You can also read notes and highlights created on your Kindle device, but you can't create them on Kindle for PC yet.

People with a Windows 7 multitouch PC can zoom in or out of a page by pinching it with your fingers.

Amazon has also tapped its Whispersync technology to automatically save and sync bookmarks across multiple devices. So you can read a book up to a certain page on your Kindle device and then automatically jump to that same page on your PC to resume reading where you left off.

"Kindle for PC is the perfect companion application for customers who own a Kindle or Kindle DX," Ian Freed, vice president, Amazon Kindle, said in a statement. "Kindle for PC is also a great way for people around the world to access a huge selection from the Kindle Store and read the most popular books of today even if they don't yet have a Kindle."

Amazon plans new features for the next edition of Kindle for PC. The company said it will offer the ability to create notes and highlights, search for words or phrases in your books, and click on an image to zoom in or rotate it.

With the launch of Kindle for PC, Kindle books can now be read on Kindle readers, the iPhone, the iPod Touch, and personal computers. Kindle for the PC is compatible with Windows 7, Vista, and XP. A Mac version is coming soon, promises Amazon.