Barnes & Noble has today announced Nook for Web, a new e-reader platform that the company says removes the need for a Nook account, device, software or downloads of any kind.

Nook for Web will work from all the standard modern browsers – Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome – on Windows and Mac computers. It won’t work on your iPad though. Support for tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices is coming later this year.

To access it, simply go to the Nook for Web site, and you’ll see the option to ‘Read it now’:

a14 520x272 Barnes & Noble launches Nook for Web, giving access to e books from any computer browser

At launch, there are six free books to help you test out the service: 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:

b8 520x209 Barnes & Noble launches Nook for Web, giving access to e books from any computer browser

To read the sample, you simply hit the back and forward arrows to browse the book, or skip to the relevant page using the contents page. You can then download the entire book for free on any browser from today through to July 26.

c4 520x208 Barnes & Noble launches Nook for Web, giving access to e books from any computer browser
Though the announcement suggest that no account is needed to access the book through your browser, I was in fact prompted to sign in when I indicated I wanted to read the whole book. It transpires that the ‘no account required’ gambit actually refers only to the sample piece.

An interesting (and necessary) feature here is the seamless integration of your Nook account between devices. So, you can read any book from your library and synchronize your progress across all platforms and pick up where you last left off.

Amazon launched its own Kindle Cloud Reader Web app last year, while Kobo announced Instant Reader for browsers earlier this year. So it’s perhaps not surprising to see Barnes & Noble follow suit into the online, platform-agnostic e-reader space.

It may not be enough to tempt new users on board, but if you’re already a Nook addict, then this new Web experience could well be good news for you.