The first apps were released shortly after Apple started extorting a vig from everyone with a media app on iOS, and they were designed to allow users to read ebooks with a web browser, and thus outside Apple's control.
And they worked okay for that purpose. But that was five years ago; is anyone using them now?
The other Nathan doesn't think so:
I never understood the purpose of using a cloud reader instead of an app. Why would anyone want to read using a web browser rather than using a dedicated app?
It’s not like there are very many devices that have web browsers and don’t support installing apps. I guess most people feel the same way because these days you almost never hear anything about cloud readers anymore. I don’t think very many people actually use them.
What with Kobo and B&N letting their cloud reading apps die, it's easy to conclude that no one using cloud reading apps any more (if the apps were used heavily, they would still be supported).
Nevertheless, I still use cloud reading apps on occasion.
Play Books, for example, doesn't have an app for Windows, and so I have to use the web app if I want to read an ebook from Play Books on my laptop. To be honest, the experience leaves me feeling meh, but I also don't hate it enough to stop.
And the Kindle Cloud Reader is sometimes a good way to get early access to a paper book I bought from Amazon. (With some titles, you can read the ebooks while the paper book ships.)
What about you? Do you ever use cloud reading apps anymore? If so, why use a web app instead of a native app?