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Amazon takes on the web with new cross-platform reading

Amazon is expanding its stronghold on the e-book market with the launch of an internet-wide, cross-platform embeddable reading widget called "Kindle for the Web."

Kindle for the Web lets readers preview and share the first chapter of books without needing to leave their browser or open a separate program.

"With Kindle for the Web, it's easier than ever for customers to sample Kindle books - there's no downloading or installation required," said Dorothy Nicholls, Director, Amazon Kindle in a September 28 press release.

Kindle for the Web builds on the company's philosophy of cross-platform reading, reinforcing the idea of being able to purchase an e-book on one device and read it on virtually any other device.

Perhaps the best feature about Kindle for the Web is the ease with which users can share and recommend books on their websites and social networks.

Users can now share the first chapter of a book in the same way they would a YouTube video, by copying and pasting an embeddable link into their website, email message or social network.

Turning book sharing into a fun, social activity will result in big returns for Amazon - the company can sit back and rub its hands together as users promote the Kindle platform and encourage their friends to purchase e-books.

The strategy for Amazon's Kindle for the Web is closely aligned with that of the largest social publishing and reading site in the world, Scribd.

In 2007 Scribd started popularising the idea of sharing documents and literature via embeddable files on the web, letting writers share their content in the virtual world without the added cost of printing, storing and distributing. But while Scribd's philosophy is all about liberating the written word and connecting consumers with information, Kindle for the Web is designed to help users discover great new books (whilst boosting Amazon's e-book sales).