Services & Software

Amazon enhances Kindle for the Web

A new version of the application will let people read e-books right from their browsers and enable online booksellers, retailers, and even authors to offer e-books from their own sites.


Amazon is looking to attract more readers and sellers of e-books with its improved Kindle for the Web.

Demonstrated yesterday at Google's Chrome event, Amazon's Kindle for the Web will let users buy and read full Kindle e-books directly from their browsers with no special download or installation required. The new version of the application will be available early next year.

Users will also have a lot of choice over where they can buy their Kindle books. Online retailers, publishers, authors, and bloggers will be able to offer Kindle books through their own sites, according to Amazon. Web and blog sites can embed a Kindle for the Web widget to allow them to preview and sell Kindle books directly and earn referral fees on any sales, courtesy of Amazon's Associates Program.

"Kindle for the Web makes it possible for bookstores, authors, retailers, bloggers or other website owners to offer Kindle books on their websites and earn affiliate fees for doing so," Russ Grandinetti, vice president of Kindle Content, said in a statement. "Anyone with access to a web browser can discover the seamless and consistent experience that comes with Kindle books."

Kindle for the Web isn't new. It initially launched in late September, but it's currently limited to displaying only the first chapter of an e-book within the browser. The new and improved features promise to put Amazon on par with Google's new eBookstore, which opened for business on Monday. Both companies are touting the similar features of their respective e-book apps, such as the ability to read entire books within the browser and sync content from one reading device to another.

Though it may be competing with Google in the e-book marketplace, Amazon is working with the search giant to make Kindle for the Web Chrome-friendly. The updated Kindle for the Web will support forthcoming Chrome OS devices.

The new Chrome Web Store is also playing host to Amazon's Windowshop. Similar to Amazon's Windowshop for the iPad, the Chrome version offers a user-friendly display where consumers can visually browse and buy Amazon products.