Amazon launches Web-based e-book preview service

Amazon’s family of Kindle services just had a baby, Amazon Kindle for the Web. It’s a service that runs in any Web browser and allows users to preview e-books before they buy them.

In concept, it’s not all that different than Amazon’s current ability to let book publishers share several pages of their books before anyone buys them. However, where the online retailer wants to expand is with the social networking experience alongside it.

Users will be able to share book samples with each other and can connect to Facebook to let all their friends know what they’re reading. Users can even earn referral fees if they link someone to a book on Kindle for the Web and they then end up buying the book.

On that note, yeah, once users go through the preview sample of an e-book, they’re directed to Amazon’s standard website to purchase it. From there, of course, the full book will be available on any Kindle platform the user owns – their computer, mobile phone, and physical Kindle device.

Books that are eligible for the Kindle for the Web preview will let users read the first chapter for free.

Again, this isn’t really anything new. Users can already read free book previews on Amazon. What’s more noteworthy about this new platform is its social integration, as the first time that Amazon is really linking its Kindle name to something users can discuss and share digitally over Facebook and Twitter. It’s also a much easier way for website owners to highlight books on their site and earn referral fees for any books they sell.

Kindle for the Web is currently in beta form and a preview of the service is available here.