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Barnes & Noble brings Nook e-books to the Web

Barnes & Noble just fired the latest salvo in the e-book war with the announcement of Nook for Web. So what is it? Basically it’s an e-reader experience in a web browser. You can sample and read Nook books on any PC or Mac without the need to sign in or download any software — you don’t even need a Nook account.

If you already have a Nook device then you can access your collection and pick up where you left off with a book in your browser, although you will have to sign in to My Nook if you want to do that.

It works with Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari but there’s one glaring omission — no support for tablets or smartphones just yet.

Nook for Web will give you access to purchase more than 2.5 million titles and you can check out free samples via the “Read Instantly” icon. The layout is designed for comfortable reading and you have the option of customizing the font, size, and layout. Some social networking features are also present.

As a sweetener, Barnes & Noble is offering six bestselling Nook books for free. Before you get too excited here’s the list: 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. Snap them up before July 26 or you’ll miss out.

Offering a seamless experience across devices and online is a smart move by Barnes & Noble but the job won’t really be complete until mobile devices are supported too. Thankfully that support should arrive in the fall. Check out Nook for Web for yourself.