Today's Kindle on the Web release is all about Google Editions, free books

First, the 2 free kindle books –

  1. Enchanting the Lady by Kathryne Kennedy. Rated 4.5 stars on 32 reviews.

    Little-noticed Felicity Seymour is a woman with a problem: she can’t take control of her parents’ lands until she can prove her magical abilities, of which she’s never had the slightest hint.

    When she meets a handsome were-lion baronet, Terence Blackwell, she’s surprised at his interest; what she doesn’t know is that Terence smells the taint of relic-magic on her, the same magic that killed his brother. Resolving to learn her secrets, Terence courts the worried wallflower and is as surprised as anyone when he falls head over heels.

  2. The New World by Patrick Ness. A free prequel to the Chaos Walking Trilogy. Seems to be closer to a short story than a book.

That brings us to today’s Kindle news.

Kindle for the Web = Amazon preparing for Google Editions

Amazon today announced something called ‘Kindle for the Web’.

Here’s its supposed function – Let readers read book samples in their browser.

  • Read a book sample from without leaving your browser. No download or installation required.
  • Share book samples with your friends via email or social networks.
  • Embed a book sample in your personal blog or website and earn referral fees on sales.
  • Here’s its real function – Match the ‘read ebooks in your browser’ functionality Google Editions has promised to deliver.

    1. Google promised this ‘read ebooks in your browser’ functionality when talking about Google Editions.
    2. Google Editions will almost certainly arrive with ‘read in your browser’ ebooks. It’s the only way a company without a dedicated eReader can attempt to succeed.  
    3. Amazon will have a system that’s tested and ready to go that offers the same functionality.

    Basically, the 10% to 20% of current Kindle owners that think reading books in their browsers is a killer feature will be able to read their Kindle Store purchased books in their browsers.  

    In some ways Google is doing exactly what B&N did – giving away some of its secrets too far in advance. Now, by the time Editions arrives, Amazon will be ready to match its cool ‘ebooks you can read through your browser’ feature.

    But … Kindle for the Web only includes Samples

    Yes, because Publishers aren’t going to be too eager to open up an avenue for piracy and because there’s no need to allow reading of full books until there’s a competitor offering the same.

    If Amazon really wanted to steal the thunder it could announce the feature a few days before Google Editions was set to arrive. However, Publishers are probably looking to use Editions against Amazon and their strategy might be to try to find a way to allow features in Editions that aren’t available through the Kindle Store.

    For all we know there might be multiple discussions and negotiations going on right now where both Google and Amazon are trying to convince Publishers to allow ‘reading in the browser’. If neither succeeds then Amazon can keep the feature as it is – a way to read samples online. If either succeeds Publishers will have to offer the same functionality to the other (or there will be legal consequences) and then Amazon will be in position to negate what would have been Editions’ biggest advantage.  

    What is Kindle for the Web like?

    When you start using Kindle for the Web it’s pretty clear that Amazon intends to expand this into a way to read full books –

    1. There are 22 options for Font Size. 
    2. There are 10 options for Line Spacing.
    3. There are 4 settings for words per line.  
    4. There are 3 color modes – White, Sepia, and Black. 
    5. It’s very, very well done.

    It’s hard to believe Amazon would have added in the option to choose between 22 different Font Sizes if all it planned to do with the feature was allow people to read samples.

    There’s a little note on ‘why you can’t view more pages’ on the Kindle for the Web help page –

    We help our customers discover and sample books to ensure that they’ll be satisfied with their purchases. Our agreements with publishers and copyright holders currently limit how much of the book is available for preview. We continue to work with publishers to expand these limits.

    Amazon couldn’t be clearer – These are ‘current’ limits and Amazon is working with Publishers to expand these limits. If Google Editions manages to convince Publishers to allow book reading in the browser Kindle for the Web will probably get the same allowance.

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