The new feature will allow users to preview the first chapter of any Kindle book for free directly on the Web, just as iTunes users can sample songs before buying them.
According to Amazon, the new feature will also allow for easy sharing of books via Facebook, Twitter and email. In addition to simple viewing and embedding, Amazon will begin offering referral fees to website owners when customers purchase books previewed on their sites.
Kindle for the Web seems like a natural progression for Kindle and we can only wonder how long it will be before the tool transitions from merely offering previews to full texts. While much of the appeal to the Kindle is its portability and its "electronic ink" screen, compatibility with more devices would only enhance the product. Already, Kindle books are available not only on the Kindle itself, but also the iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, Mac, PC, BlackBerry and Android-based devices.
Providing a download- and install-free application for the Web could allow Amazon to sell frictionless single servings of e-books and bring the service into competition with sites like Google Books and Scribd.