I recently wrote an article about the Nook and Sony readers’ ability to handle ePub format, which is rapidly becoming the format of choice for digital book publishers. I thought it might be helpful to explain the differences between the old proprietary formats and ePub standard, something you should take into consideration when shopping around among the various digital book readers on the market.
In the early days of electronic book readers, consumers accepted that Amazon and Sony released their books encoded in their own formats. These were actually connected to their electronic devices. However, today the industry has standard file formats that eliminate uncertainty and standardizes electronic publication.
You may wonder, with so many other options available, why some of the biggest names in the industry threw their weight behind the ePub format when there were other perfectly good universal available file formats such as Mobipockets. But that’s a question for Google, Sony, and Barnes and Noble to answer.
These three are in a position to give a good slap to Amazon, because Amazon’s latest offering – the U.S. International Kindle and Kindle e-book readers – do not support the ePub standard. Meanwhile, the latest Sony e-book readers, which are getting some rave reviews, by the way, and the new Barnes and Noble Nooks are all compatible with the ePub format. Books from Sony and Barnes and Noble are all published in this online format.
Now, add to the mix the considerable influence Google has on everything web-based, and their recent support of ePub. They plan to publish their entire enormous library of over a million books in the ePub format, many of which are free to download.
These developments have created an entire new market. E-book readers no longer have to buy their books from a single source, which can only lead to greater competition and ultimately lower e-book prices. And the big three companies have accepted and encouraged this trend.
This leaves the Kindle electronic book reader in a bind. News, trends, and prices change quickly in this industry. Kindle customers will feel cheated when they realize how limited their old e-book reader is.