Barnes & Noble is bringing its Nook reading platform to the web today, where it will compete with Kindle’s Cloud Reader, iBooks, and Kobo’s Instant Reader head-on. The move is an important one in the sense that one needs a web presence in order to “feel” complete – that is, to exist on every platform that a reader may want to use. However, Kindle Cloud Reader didn’t come to the web back when it launched last year just for a sense of completeness – it did so because Apple’s terms stated that book-reading apps couldn’t link to their own stores from within their iOS apps. In other words, moving the web isn’t just a nicety, it had become a must for these companies.
That same holds true for Nook’s iOS application today – it syncs with your Nook account and lets you search through and read what’s in your library. But buying books still has to be done from the web. You can tell from the app reviews that not everyone understands that the decision to launch a pared down app isn’t B&N’s – users complain that you still have to go online to buy books, and what a bummer that is!
So you would think that web-based version of the Nook app would mean that users can now forgo the iOS (iPhone/iPad) native experience for a more functional HTML app instead. But weirdly, when attempting to access the site from the mobile browser on an iPhone or iPad, it simply tells you that a desktop browser is needed.
According to the company, Nook for Web works in any web browser, including IE, Firefox, Chrome and Safari (apparently desktop versions, all), and works on both Mac and PC.
To entice readers to try it out, B&N is offering six titles for free, including Map of Bones by James Rollins, Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell, The Vow by Kim Carpenter, The Boxcar Children Summer Special by Gertrude Chandler Warner, Brave by Tennant Redbank and Perfect Island Getaways by Patricia Schultz. Users can instantly read the sample (even without signing in), and can then download the whole book for free, now through July 26.