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Thursday Morning News Links: ePub May Be Winning the Format War

emoticon_smileOne of the barriers of entry for ebook reading is the myriad of formats but the headache might be easing for readers. Sony has announced it will drop its own proprietary ebook format, BBeB (also known as LRF), and sell ONLY epub format. I think it makes sense for the consumer to either buy epub or be converting their books using Calibre into epub.

Adobe sent MobileRead a nice list of devices that support ePub.

In other Sony news, it has a partnership with Overdrive to start offering library digital downloads compatible with the Sony reader. This means that Sony will offer the epub format to library patrons. I have asked whether this Sony/Overdrive relationship will mean that Harlequin will start offering epub as well.

Bookseller also confidently reports that Sony will be offering a wireless device at the end of the year. Sony has announced a press conference for the 25th of August. I’m getting a little excited about this.

Edited to add: Forgot to mention that ScrollMotion is bringing in app purchase to the iPhone. It will be the first iPhone book app to take advantage of this, as far as I know. Scroll Motion has overpriced its individual apps so it will be interesting to see what the pricing is for the books via in app purchase.

emoticon_smileThe Book Oven talks about its new open platform for authors who want to publish on their own. Authors can upload content and other folks can come along and proof and edit the work.

emoticon_surprisedSpeaking of self publishing, Stephen Covey has decided to forego an established publisher and will self publish an entire line of short books under the name “Insight Series.” Covey went with Rosetta Books. It sounds like there will be print versions as well, but who the retailers will be I’ve yet to read.

emoticon_tongueA district court looking at RealNetworks DVD copying software ruled that it was unlawful under the DMCA but leaves open the issue of whether consumers can make copies regardless of the DMCA for their own personal use. Via Gizmodo.

emoticon_smileIASPR, a scholarly journal and association devoted to the genre, has a seminar underway in Brisbane Australia. Here’s some local coverage.

eyeTalking Alot Blog argues that commentary on the web can inform publishers about its readership and that part of analyzing data is separating dross from the wheat. In other words, yes, there is some mean, stupid comments out there but there are also important comments.

emoticon_smileThe meme out of the 2009 BEA was that it was a dying or dead trade show. People are already trying to see how it can be saved. Penguin floated the idea of having consumers attend but only at off site locations.

While some smaller publishers favor selling books to consumers on the convention floor, no major houses (and no booksellers) PW spoke with support the idea, and Fensterman has vetoed the notion. "The reading public won’t be coming into the [Javits] tent anytime soon," he said.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

10 Comments

  1. RStewie
    Aug 13, 2009 @ 09:45:02

    I am SO EXCITED about this format deal working itself out with Sony. For them to give up ANY control over something is monumental, but to completely forgo their proprietary format is beyond awesome (speaking as one who owns a PSP, PS3, and PS2, all of which have the requisite doesn’t-work-with-anything-else peripherals).

    This is a Great Sign for digital publishing, and I’m SO HOPING the rest of them will fall in line. This is the only way other devices will beat out the Kindle, to my understanding, and that Sony is willing to bow out of BBeB for the sake of the readers (and getting the reader’s $$$), is wonderful.

    Also…I’m happy about this because epub is one of the only formats I can read on my laptop. So…yay! As an aside, this stance makes me want to get a Sony ereader. I’ll hold out for the wireless version…but Amazon has lost this sale.

  2. Moriah Jovan
    Aug 13, 2009 @ 10:12:59

    Well, they’re only swapping one proprietary format (theirs) for another (Adobe’s), which gives Adobe an incredible amount of influence/control over pricing.

  3. Lesley
    Aug 13, 2009 @ 10:16:48

    I read the NYT article and have been trying to figure out the bit about Adobe restricting how often ebooks can be shared or copied.

    “Sony will also scrap its proprietary anticopying software in favor of technology from the software maker Adobe that restricts how often e-books can be shared or copied.”

    Does that mean once they change over to epub that if I back up my books by copying them not only to my Sony but to my external drive and then my computer crashes that it’s possible I’ll have to rebuy all my books because I copied them too many times? Because that’ll be a major PITA if that feature gets added to my Sony books.

  4. Jessica
    Aug 13, 2009 @ 11:06:15

    Fantastic Australian news coverage of the IASPR romance conference. US journalists could learn a thing or two from it. Thanks for the link!

  5. Kalen Hughes
    Aug 13, 2009 @ 11:59:52

    Great, yet another dedicated format that not all of us can use (and that looks like crap when hacked and converted). *sigh* I really wouldn’t care if publishers would just put everything out in a form I could use, but they don’t! I’m so freaken tired of seeing a book I want on ficitonwise and it’s only in ePub. Total #fail for me.

  6. nutmeag
    Aug 13, 2009 @ 13:09:31

    My reasons for not getting an ereader:
    1) Formatting incompatibility–Can’t we all just agree on a couple?
    2) Inaccessible to libraries–I rarely buy books and so want my ebooks to be library-available.
    3) Secret removal of books from readers–I’m looking at you, Amazon.

    With that being said, I’m really glad to see 1 & 2 are starting to improve. If 3 never improves, I’d still be ok, as long as the others are taken care of.

    In summary–there is hope for me yet!

  7. Miki
    Aug 13, 2009 @ 17:39:10

    @Moriah Jovan: Amen, sister!

    And, since Adobe’s DRM scheme ties the books to the HARDWARE, books you bought on computer #1 may not be readable a few years from now after a re-install, one or two ebook readers or PDAs and a computer upgrade.

    Want to read horror stories, go over to Adobe’s forums and read about people trying to reauthenticate software after they’ve upgraded their computers!

  8. Azure
    Aug 13, 2009 @ 19:29:43

    @Kalen Hughes: I have managed to convert an ePub file that looks decent, but it’s rather time-consuming. I miss the days of LIT files…they were so easy…

    But since I am able to convert ePub, and there’s no way of doing that with LRX files, I do wonder if I would be able to re-download the few books I’ve bought from Sony (the books that are ONLY available at their store) in ePub format. I would hope so, especially if there comes a day when LRX is gone forever and ePub’s all that’s left.

  9. Ann Bruce
    Aug 13, 2009 @ 21:12:15

    Sony will offer the epub format to library patrons.

    Finally! After 14 hours at work, I so needed this.

  10. Miki S
    Aug 14, 2009 @ 00:17:15

    @Ann Bruce: My library (CLEVNET) already has epub. I wouldn’t say their selection is legion yet, compared to print, but it’s been increasing pretty steadily.

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