Nook chases after Kindle with browser-based service

Barnes & Noble announced today that users can now explore and read books in a Nook-like reading environment in the browser. The service works on both Mac and PC.

A look at Nook for Web.
A look at Nook for Web. Barnes & Noble

After a long wait, Barnes & Noble has finally unveiled a browser-based platform, allowing users to explore and read the company's e-books from a Mac or PC.

Dubbed Nook for Web, the platform requires no sign-in, software download, or Nook account for users to start reading. According to Barnes & Noble, the service allows users to search for books and sample them, as well as read entire titles after purchase. Barnes & Noble says that Nook for Web comes with the same "Nook-like reading environment" found in the company's applications and e-readers.

Barnes & Noble took some time to finally get to this point. Amazon, the company's chief e-book competitor, unveiled its own Kindle Web app back in 2010. The offering allows users to read full e-books from within the browser.

To jumpstart its own offering, Barnes & Noble says that it'll make six titles, including "Map of Bones" by James Rollins and "Brave" by Tennant Redbank available for free through July 26.

Nook for Web works on both Mac and PC, and supports Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Barnes & Noble says support for tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices will be coming this fall.

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