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From the press release:

Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, today introduced NOOK for Web, an innovative and free new browser experience that offers readers the ability to explore the hottest digital titles and bestselling books right from their computer – no sign-in, software download or NOOK account required to begin reading. With fast and easy access from any PC or Mac® browser, NOOK for Web seamlessly combines NOOK’s award-winning digital reading experience with access to Barnes & Noble’s expansive NOOK Store. Now, anyone who loves to read can browse, sample and become instantly immersed in a NOOK-like reading environment from any browser, with support coming this fall for Internet-enabled tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices.

Beginning today, Barnes & Noble is offering six bestselling NOOK Books in their entirety at no charge for readers to try NOOK’s award-winning digital reading experience online. With popular summer titles the entire family will enjoy, customers can visit to browse the list of complimentary titles available, including 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, instantly read the sample, and then download the entire book for free on any browser now through July 26.

“NOOK for Web makes it easier than ever for anyone – from NOOK customers to those experiencing digital content for the first time – to access and read books online,” said Jamie Iannone, President of Digital Products at Barnes & Noble. “There’s no need to download special software to access your digital library – NOOK for Web seamlessly combines Barnes & Noble’s best-in-class digital reading experience and unrivaled NOOK Store to deliver an immersive, easy-to-use solution for readers to consume millions of titles right from their Web browser.”

With NOOK for Web, it’s also now easier than ever for NOOK customers to read their NOOK Books virtually anytime, anywhere. The perfect complement to NOOK devices and free NOOK Reading Apps, customers can simply go to pick back up from their last page read or start reading a new book using any Web browser.

NOOK for Web features the elegant, immersive digital reading experience millions of NOOK customers have come to know and love:

  • Enjoy free samples of the majority of NOOK Books and begin reading with just a click on the “Read Instantly” icon. There’s no need to sign in, create an account or download additional software in order to sample content. NOOK for Web supports all PC and Mac-supported Web browsers including Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari.
  • Get lost in a great read with the realistic book-like layout, including clear page numbers at the bottom of each screen and an innovative slider allowing users to easily track the number of pages remaining in a chapter or quickly scroll to another section.
  • Customize the reading experience using the intuitive navigation bar. Choose between 8 fonts and 8 font sizes and a single or double page layout. Simply collapse the navigation bar once preferences are selected to reveal a clean, easy-to-read page.
  • Rate, review and share thoughts or recommend books via Twitter, Facebook or e-mail without even leaving the book.
  • Access more information about the book while reading, plus thousands of helpful editorial and customer reviews at your fingertips.
  • Learn what to read next with personalized recommendations from Barnes & Noble’s expert booksellers – from must-read new releases to up-and-coming authors – all in the customizable Shop window.
  • Shop from the ever-expanding NOOK Store, buy NOOK Books in seconds (the majority for $9.99 or less), and select purchases right from your personal NOOK Library to open and begin reading from any Web browser.

Through Barnes & Noble’s free, stable and secure NOOK Cloud service, NOOK for Web now gives existing NOOK customers even more flexibility to Read What You Love, Anywhere You Like with seamless account integration and synchronization. Customers can read any book from their personal NOOK Library by signing in using a valid NOOK account. Sync the last page read from a NOOK tablet or Reader, multitude of computing and mobile devices with free NOOK Reading Apps and NOOK for Web, and keep reading virtually anytime, anywhere – all without losing the page. And customers can send free NOOK Book samples directly to an existing NOOK Library to automatically access new content on the go from any NOOK device or one with free NOOK Reading Apps.

NOOK for Web is now available at with no download required. Simply browse for books in the NOOK Book Store and look for the “Read Instantly” icon to begin reading any book.



  1. Frank: the thing with the free samples is a big reduction in friction. Now anybody can just drop in and browse the samples — something that Amazon has provided with its Look Inside program for a long time.

    Prior to this, you needed to have a B&N account, “purchase” the free sample into your account, download the sample into a reader, and then delete the free sample from your account when you were done. As an added complication, if you liked what you saw and went to buy the e-book from your NOOK, the site wouldn’t sell it to you because it claimed that you already had it unless you first deleted the sample from your account — which can only be done through a browser, not the NOOK. Yes, that’s as bone-headed as it sounds.

  2. @Andy
    B&N’s DRM uses your credit card number and name to encrypt the ebooks.
    The ebooks are not tied to any hardware or software ID. And do not need any DRM server after downloading. You can copy the ebooks as many times as you want to, to as many readers as you want to.

  3. I’m aware of the DRM B&N uses. I just wasn’t expecting to hand over all my cc info for a free ebook or two when I haven’t needed it in the past ( granted, I haven’t downloaded anything from their Nook store in almost 2 years… But I don’t think I needed to do it back then.)

    Not a big deal… Just won’t be doing that…

  4. I’m very leery of systems that use your credit card and name in order to create DRM.

    Once the structure of the DRM is cracked, as it will without doubt, your personal info is just hanging there to be harvested.

  5. Binko: the name and credit card number aren’t used directly. The name and credit card number are taken and then all scrambled together (“hashed”) and the hash is used. (For the techies, the process uses SHA-1 and AES.) There’s no feasible way to retrieve the name and credit card number given the decryption key; there isn’t as much data in the decryption key as in the original name and credit card number.

    Besides, at this point no e-book DRM system has been cracked in a way that allows someone without the key to descramble the e-book. All of the current cracks merely strip the DRM from an e-book that’s already been descrambled using the correct key. That doesn’t mean that it couldn’t happen in the future.

    Your credit card number is at far more risk every time you use it to buy something.

  6. Doug, thanks for the clarification. But using your name and credit card to create a hash to generate encryption still creates one big problem. Your name and credit card number will then have to be stored on the device somewhere in plain text in order to decrypt the ebooks on demand because nobody is going to be willing to type in their name and cc # everytime they want to read.

    Using personal names and credit card numbers to power encryption is a sloppy and dangerous method. It’s only used because it is convenient for the business selling the books and serves to bind the user to ebook in an identifiable way.

  7. Thanks again Doug. Sorry to be obtuse but by the “hash” I assume you mean the decryption key. The key is stored along with the encrypted products?

    Also this doesn’t make sense to me in the context of the claims made above that books from B&N can be moved around at will and read on multiple devices.

    Say I buy an ebook from B&N and they create a hash from my name and CC# and use it to add DRM to the book. Now let’s say I want to move the book to my Sony eReader or read it on a tablet. How does the decryption hash move along with the book? If the two are tied together and move automatically that’s just the same as not being encrypted at all.

    I’m just trying to understand this in the admittedly limited context of my encryption knowledge. The key has to be typed in or the key has to be stored on the device. How does a hashed key stored on the device allow the kind of portability that people are talking about above?

  8. The first time you open a book that is encrypted with a hash not yet available on the device, the ebook will ask you to type in the credit card number and name to unlock the book. This will generate the hash, which will be stored on the device.
    B&N’s DRM is a social DRM. There are no technical restrictions that prevent you from sharing an ebook. Instead the ebook is encrypted with information that hopefully will limit your sharing of an ebook. In this case your credit card number and name.

    The big advantage of the B&N system is that the whole DRM encryption is enclosed within the ebook file. You do not need an online connection to an DRM server to transfer a book to another device.

    If you want to transfer a Kindle book to another device, you have to login that device to your Kindle account, and download a new copy (using Amazon’s DRM server) that can only be read on that specific device.
    In the case of Adobe DRM you have to authorize every device with the same Adobe ID, using Adobe’s DRM server.

    With B&N’s DRM after downloading an ebook you do no longer need an DRM server.
    Even if B&N and your credit card would no longer exist, you would still be able to transfer your ebook to any compatible device, and read it.

  9. Geert, thank you. That is understandable. Now at least I can see how the encryption scheme works.

    A couple more points come to mind

    First, B&N obviously has a record of your name and credit card and the hash that was created out of them. So the ebook is always traceable to you.

    Second, books encrypted under this system are still limited to devices that support the B&N system. So it’s not really true to say that they can be read anywhere. Really it’s just anywhere supported by B&N.

    I suppose it provides marginally more flexibility than the Kindle system, but not really much.

  10. Like the first commenter, I’d like to know if this is available outside the U.S. Evidently B&N didn’t think geographic availability (enforced by content retailers) was important enough to mention.

    Also, another note on encryption using your CC details: keep your old credit card info somewhere (like a good password program). I have heaps of Secure eReader titles which were bought (and thus encrypted) with a previous credit card. When I opened one of those older titles on a new device, I was asked to input my CC details. It took me a while to work out that my previous CC was needed.

    However, when you’ve downloaded your purchased titles to a new device, it looks like you only have to identify yourself once, then the rest of your library opens normally. Despite having to keep track of any previous CCs used, I very much prefer this method to Adobe DRM, where it’s almost impossible to solve device-registration, device-unregistration and sheer dysfunction issues. Props to Amazon for making it so easy to register and deregister devices from Account > Manage Your Kindle.

  11. NOOK for Web does not activate for iPad (which is pretty silly, given that they support Safari on OSX, and Safari on iOS does well with HTML5). You just get an error message telling you to use a desktop or laptop system.

    As for geographic availability, they don’t mention it anywhere I can find in their FAQs or Help. However, since no Nook apps are available to Australians yet (despite B&N’s announcement some time ago that they were going international), and NOOK for Web would handle the same content, we are left to assume it’s geographically limited.

    *sigh* Why limit your customer base? Again, the majority of English-speakers live outside the U.S.

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