Amazon just bypassed Apple's tax on its Kindle book sales.
Kindle Cloud Reader is a web application that runs in HTML5-enabled browsers that enables customers to read Kindle books using only their web browser.
The app includes the ability to download books to be read offline via a downloadable browser app and a convenient link to Amazon's Kindle Store for browsing and buying.
The Cloud Reader automatically synchronizes your Kindle library, as well as your last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights for all of your Kindle books.
The real story is that this browser app allows Amazon to bypass Apple's 30% cut of all content sales made via iPhone and iPad apps. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other companies that sell consumable content have to date approached Apple's new requirement by removing links to their online stores from their iOS apps. This new move bypasses the need for an iOS app completely, running entirely in the browser.
Frankly, you wonder why it took so long for Amazon to make the move. Today's web technologies allow very complex applications to be entirely browser-based and many websites already have websites optimized for different mobile devices. Although apps can be useful to reformat content and navigation for smaller screen devices, they are in many cases redundant and unnecessary for tablets.
With 30% of content sales at stake, It's reasonable to expect other companies to soon follow Amazon's lead.
The downside at this point is that Cloud Reader is supported only in Safari and Chrome browsers. No Firefox and no Android browser. This isn't that big a deal for Android users though, since Google doesn't take any cut of content sales made via Android apps.
Kindle Cloud Reader is available now at www.amazon.com/cloudreader.