Monday, January 26, 2009

Amazon Take Off their eBook Format Gloves

Publishers Weekly today announced that has notified its publisher and author clients that it plans to cease offering e-books in the Microsoft Reader and Adobe e-book formats.

What does this mean? Is it like their declaration that they made on POD via Booksurge? As with Booksurge Amazon own Mobibook and if that’s they way they wish to do business then who will say no?. They store, they have the content, they deliver the content via their own wireless network connection, they own the store, they own the reader - so why not own the format? Although they accept epub files these are converted these to their own format. Some may say that by playing the format card they in fact strengthen their hand and make it Kindle independent. So the publisher may be happy but the problem remains.

Mobibook remains probably the dominant ebook format alongside Adobe and epub. If plays on as many as any other format and isn't dependant on Adobe to apply DRM. So if you view Sony as the main competitor to Amazon then you start to see a clear division of ebook camps. Adobe remains in the picture with their new ACS4 DRM, without which the Sony can’t use epub and are left with their own overlooked format and poorly represented format. We have reported on the Fictionwise and Follett ‘own brand’ formats and can only see more as the battle hots up.

Some may envisage that Amazon and Mobi will try to cut off old DRM versions the same way that Adobe did in their move from ACS3 to ACS4. Some may also see the move as a swift response to the high profile ereader format and iPhone applications. Whatever the game plan its obvious that Amazon wants to challenge the Adobe ebook format which is the cheapest route for many publishers and push the market towards a richer tagged format.

This format warring is inappropriate as retailers and publishers start to see the shoots of a digital business. However, we now have a confusing consumer offer. The publishers may back epub but the consumer is the person who matters and if Amazon want an Amazon only world we are in for potentially trying times.

We still believe that the ultimate platforms will be online and split between the mobile and the notebook /laptop world and if we are right the current format tiffs are not so important.

1 comment:

kathryn said...

great article and thank you so much for your keep posting :-)