Kindle for Web Launches – What Am I Missing?


Amazon announced a couple of days ago the beta version of Kindle for the Web. This allows customers to read the first chapter of Kindle books for free through web browsers, and share book samples with friends via email and social networks, with no download or software installation required.

Kindle for the Web also allows Authors and Bloggers to embed samples of Kindle books on their websites, as shown above (go ahead and try it out, it works pretty good; click the full-screen icon on the top center of the widget).

This is what the press release states:

Customers simply click the “Read first chapter FREE” button on a book product page on Amazon or on other websites, and the first chapter will open within the web page. Customers can change the font size and line spacing, adjust the background color, and share their favorite books with friends and family via Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail–all without leaving the book in the browser.

Apparently, I’m missing something (update: check the comments). I waited for a couple of days and I still can’t find a single book that has a “Read first chapter FREE” button. Even the two that Amazon gives as examples in the press release don’t have this option. The only way I found to embed that sample above was to visit the Author’s website and use the code from his widget. The book is The First Assassin, by John Miller.

What am I missing?

I even tried viewing the book’s description pages with Internet Explorer (I use Firefox—it’s a gazillion times better). Still nothing. In fact, Internet Explorer butchers the page and leaves a huge white space where the book’s pricing and format information is supposed to be.

I checked the FAQ’s for Kindle for the Web and it shows Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as an example and the screenshot even shows the read for free button, but I don’t get that when viewing the product page in my browser. All it has is a box that says “Send sample now”.

When they said this was a beta version, I guess they meant it.

2 Responses to “Kindle for Web Launches – What Am I Missing?”

  1. The “Read first chapter free” button is only on the paper books as far as I know. The Kindle versions have a “Send Sample” button instead.

  2. Thanks, Richard! You fixed my brain! I see now. The browser has to be viewing either the hardcover or paper versions of the book, even the audio version.

    I don’t see why Amazon chose to do it that way, though. Why not have it for the Kindle versions as well? Sure we can always send the sample to a Kindle or Kindle app, but if we are already on the page it seems odd not to have the option to just read the 1st chapter there . . .