Amazon has expanded its Kindle for the Web service so that users can read more than just the first free chapters of Kindle books through their browsers. Anyone can now use their browser to buy and read full Kindle books without having to download or install software.
This means bookstores, retailers, authors, bloggers, and other website owners will be able to offer Kindle books from their own sites by embedding the Kindle for the Web widget. Their readers will be able to access the full text of their books instantly, and the owners can earn referral fees through the Amazon Associates Program for sales made through their sites.
"Kindle books can be read on the $139 third-generation Kindle device with new high-contrast Pearl e-Ink, on iPads, iPod touches, iPhones, Macs, PCs, BlackBerrys and Android-based devices," Russ Grandinetti, Vice President of Kindle Content, said in a statement. "And now, anywhere you have a web browser. Your reading library, last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights are always available to you no matter where you bought your Kindle books or how you choose to read them."
The update to Kindle for the Web was demonstrated at the Google Chrome event today. Amazon will support Chrome OS devices, including the new Chrome OS Notebook, the Chrome browser, and other browsers.
This would seem to be a positive partnership with Google, but it really isn't if you take yesterday's news into account: Google eBookstore launches with more than 3 million titles. Sure, Google's store has not yet released a widget that enables e-reading on publisher's websites, but that can be arranged. It's almost as if Amazon worked with Google to make sure their store would work with the Chrome browser and operating system, but the search giant didn't tell the retailer it was unveiling its own store a day before the Chrome event.
To make matters worse for Amazon, it turns out that Google licensed Adobe Content Server 4 software as its ebook content protection solution for Google eBooks. More than 200 publishers and distributors worldwide have deployed Adobe Content Server, making it the most pervasive DRM solution for ebooks and other digital publications. Having Adobe on its side will surely strengthen Google's chances to dominate the electronic bookstore market, given the company's experience with digital document distribution.
"We are excited about Google joining the largest ecosystem of content distributors that believe in giving consumers the freedom to read ebooks across platforms and device types," Dave Burkett, vice president and general manager of Adobe Creative Solutions Business, said in a statement. "Adobe is helping publishers navigate a rapidly changing media landscape, where new devices are opening up new business opportunities to distribute unique content."