The new Kindle for the Web will "enable users to read full books in the browser and [enable] any website to become a bookstore offering Kindle books," an Amazon spokeswoman said. There already is a Kindle for the Web app, but it's very limited: you can only read and share book samples, not entire volumes. Enhancing the Web app is a logical step in the advancement of Amazon's "Kindle wherever you go" strategy -- and also a mirror response to Google's eBookstore.
Google's eBookstore is online-based; all of its products are stored in the cloud. Its offerings are available on essentially every device except the Kindle, so those who loathe reading e-books on backlit screens have the option of reading free or purchased Google e-books on a Nook or Sony eReader, for example.
Though the Amazon spokeswoman didn't elaborate on the specifics of Kindle for the Web, it sounds like is doing essentially the same, though it's unlikely you'll be able to read purchases from the Kindle Store on a Nook anytime soon.
That fact makes Amazon's effort a little off-kilter. Given that the preexisting Kindle app is already on most mobile gadgets -- including the iPhone, iPad, PCs and Macs, BlackBerry and more -- reading a Kindle book on a Web browser doesn't make much sense. Just download it onto your desktop, or read it on your phone, or swipe pages on your tablet. Amazon's reaction to competition from Google seems knee-jerk, and while that doesn't mean Kindle for the Web is totally useless, it's also not totally useful, either.