You can now (finally) read Barnes & Noble e-books on the Web

The books don’t require a download.

E-books purchased through Barnes & Noble can now (finally) be read via your desktop browser, no download required.

Nook for Web, which launched Tuesday, is compatible with all PC and Mac-supported Web browsers. It offers a beautiful, uncluttered reading experience. You can choose between eight font types and sizes. Pages can be read in a single or double-page layout and are turned with a scroll of your mouse.

It’s surprising it took Barnes & Noble this long to release a Web-based e-book reader. According to a Pew Research Center survey published this spring, a computer is the most popular device for reading e-books: 42 percent of those who read e-books say they read on a personal computer, followed by an e-reader (41 percent), cell phone (29 percent) and tablet (23 percent). Both Amazon and Google launched browser-based readers back in 2010. And although Barnes & Noble already had downloadable reading applications for Macs and PCs, books have been inaccessible to those who frequently use public computers and can’t install any software on those devices.

Conveniently, e-books will automatically sync across devices: If you leave off on page 16 of a novel on your iPhone, you can resume on the same page on your desktop an hour later.

In addition to the Web, Barnes & Noble has five other applications for reading e-books, including ones for iPhones, iPads, Android smartphones and tablets, PCs (download required) and Macs (download required).

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