Barnes & Noble introduces web-based Nook app

Nook iconPopular book retailer Barnes & Noble recently launched a web-based e-reader called Nook for Web. That puts them almost a year behind Amazon, which released the Kindle Cloud Reader back in August 2011.

Nook owners still have something to celebrate, as Nook for Web offers a lot of nice features for those who have an ample Nook Library they want to access via browser. This is also a great time for new potential Nook users to explore what Nook for Web has to offer.

Accessibility

The nice thing about Nook for Web is that Barnes & Noble has it developed for a wide range of different browsers. You can access your Nook Library on Firefox, Safari, Chrome and even Internet Explorer.

You don’t need to have a B&N account to try Nook for Web out either. Right now, Barnes & Noble is offering free reading access to six bestselling books, an offer that’s good through July 26. Just go to Nook for Web’s landing page, scroll down until you see the offer section, then click on any title listed and enjoy.

Interface

Nook for Web’s interface is relatively minimalistic, but that’s what most e-reader users seem to prefer. The colors on ebook covers within the app are gorgeously crisp, but the layout is otherwise primarily white. You don’t have to be logged into your B&N account to read the free selections, but you will need to sign in to access your Nook Library and purchase other titles.

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The controls for signing in, accessing your library and purchasing new books are on the upper right. Immediately beneath those controls, you’ll find some buttons to help customize your reading experience. These include a table of contents dropdown menu for the book you’re currently reading, the option to change the text size and font face of your current selection, a means by which to review what you’re reading or share with others and a button that lets you obtain more information about your ebook. Each button is pretty self-explanatory, making Nook for Web an enjoyable experience and easy to navigate for just about anyone.

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Overall impressions

Good job, Barnes & Noble! Nook for Web is a really usable tool that ebook fanatics are going to love. I don’t think it’s better than Amazon’s Cloud Reader in terms of functionality or looks, although a more in-depth head to head analysis might be in order (stay tuned!). Nook for Web is also a little late to the browser-based e-reader game, now by almost a year. When it comes to a nice, clean space on the web for reading ebooks out of your Nook Library though, Nook for Web gets the job done, and may even attract a few stragglers to the web-based e-reader scene with its impressive usability and current offer of free reading material.

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