No need to shell out 260 bucks for a Kindle reading device—so long as you don't mind reading books off of your PC monitor or laptop display, that is. Amazon has released a Windows application that lets users purchase and read books from the Kindle Store on their PCs.
The Kindle for PC beta application is available now as a free download for Windows 7, Vista, and XP. (A Mac version will arrive "soon.") Just like Kindle devices, the PC app gives readers access to a library spanning 360,000 books, which Amazon says it generally sells for $9.99 or less.
PC users get extra perks, too: access to all of the books they bought from a Kindle device, full-color images in "children's books, cookbooks, travel books, textbooks and graphic novels," and Amazon's "Whispersync technology," which remembers the last page you read and propagates that information to Kindle devices and the Kindle software for the iPhone. Also, Windows 7 users can use multi-touch pinching gestures to zoom in, and they'll be able to turn pages by swiping their finger across the screen in a future version of the software.