Why Amazon Needs to Support the EPUB eBook Format

In a recent ZDNET article, Jason Perlow described his hesitations for buying one of the new Amazon Kindle’s, which was due to its lack of EPUB support. Many responses to the article noted that the “average user” doesn’t care about the format of an eBook, only for the buying experience. I’m not going to argue on that point because in essence, they are right; the average user doesn’t care. Yet there are two real reasons why having one eBook standard is important, and these reasons will certainly impact the end user.

Publishing Infrastructure and Costs

Although most publishers will use a XML Master Format for storing the original book content, they still have to spend a lot of time, effort and costs in producing and maintaining all the different output formats they need to get their books in to the buyer’s hands. There are also no guarantees that all these different output formats will support the same kinds of features, which will mean even more resources (costs) will be needed to support these alternate formats.

Now, if the publishers only had work one eBook standard then they could spend more resources on improving their own tools to produce better output, which will ultimately give the user an even more enjoyable reading experience. Publisher will also have more resources available to give input back to the IDPF on improving the EPUB standard; bringing more and better features to the eBook world. Certainly a win-win situation for consumers and publishers. Without universal support for EPUB though, everyone will be forced to maintain multiple tool sets, which do nothing but increase costs.

I won’t bring DRM in to this conversation as it is actually independent to the eBook format itself and should not be used as an argument against embracing EPUB.

Independent Authors

One important issue Jason brought up in his ZDNet article was that of self publishing authors. By giving independent authors just one eBook format to think about they are able to spend less time producing eBooks files and more time writing content. They’ll have fewer headaches in getting their books out to the public because all vendors will accept EPUB. With just one eBook standard, more and more EPUB-ready word processors and tools will be developed. The more authors that get content on to Amazon’s self publishing system, the more money Amazon will make. Isn’t this what Amazon wants?

Until just a couple of years ago the publishing world was in turmoil with a multitude of eBook formats it had to support, yet the arrival of EPUB had a hugely positive impact which continues to be seen today.

Sure, EPUB itself is not perfect, but it is being continually improved and with the formation of the EPUB Working Group, there are huge improvements being made right now.

I still can’t make up my mind if Amazon will ever support EPUB but I do believe that it will be more and more difficult for them to refuse to do so. Let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later.

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Comments

  1. Andrew Wimble says

    As a consumer I brought a Sony Reader rather than a Kindle for one main reason, choice.

    If I buy a kindle I get to buy from Amazon and nobody else. That means I am completely reliant on what amazon make available and how much they charge for it.

    With ePub I can buy from WM Smiths or Waterstones, as well as a number of smaller sellers that support the ePub format. I prefer not to be totally reliant on one vendor.

  2. Jerry says

    I am very undecided on this whole thing. From the reviews I have read I think I’d prefer a Kindle. But as long as the format of my library online books is ePub, well that pretty much cancels Kindle out. I am left with the Sony, Nook, etc choice.

    Darn shame as I like the Kindle better. But if it won’t work on the library site, well….

  3. says

    This is really good point Jerry. Many libraries in the U.S. and U.K. use EPUB with Adobe DRM for their lending, so only eReaders that support both of these can currently use those books.

  4. says

    Amazon do offer limited support for ePubs now: if you sign up to their DTP programme you can upload your book in ePub format. I tried it; but, as with KindleGen, it didn’t create a proper Kindle table of contents, unlike Calibre which generated a mobi file with a toc which I could then upload without problems. No DRM on that I believe, but Amazon say that an ePub format upload can be copy-protected (or whatever their DRM does).

    I’m pretty happy that we managed to upload our first book for Kindle: it has taken me months to pull everything together for it. The book is Monkeys with Typewriters by the way.

  5. says

    Jerry and Mike; I presume that all those library books are copy protected in that way so we can’t run them through Calibre to generate a mobi file we can read on a Kindle?

    I’m not well up on library ebook policies, though I really need to be!

  6. says

    Hi Matthew, it’s good to hear that it’s possible to get EPUB into their system, even if it’s not perfect. Of course, if they natively supported EPUB then there would be nothing to convert :)

    I would imagine “all” library books are copy protected, thus allowing them to set a time limit on the loan of the book.

  7. says

    You’re quite right of course Mike, Amazon are being perverse in insisting on their own standard (which can’t do anything epub can’t). But then they have a way of surprising us, for instance in releasing their iPad Kindle app.

    Oh, and we do have a Kindle, bought for our business to preview our books on the real thing. I have to admit I love it already!

  8. nedm says

    “If I buy a kindle I get to buy from Amazon and nobody else. That means I am completely reliant on what amazon make available and how much they charge for it.”

    Who told you this?

    pdf’s work on kindle..as long as they aren’t encrypted

    epubs can be converted to work on kindle via calibre

    or

    if you put on the other kindle OS they get supported instantly

    cbz’s can work via calibre

    amazon’s own file system is a modified .mobi file so mobi files work right out of the box.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_e-book_formats

    the kindle with the other os also supports djvu so with pdf, mobi, epub, and djvu it does handle quite a bit…

    Matthew technically there are ways that some have found to strip epubs of drm and then via calibre can be put on a kindle..I don’t condone the practice though

  9. wekempf says

    @nedm of course you don’t condone the practice, because it’s illegal (at least, in the US it is).

    DRM is a huge PITA, even with epub where B&N chose to use their own DRM scheme that not everyone else supports. However, it’s a PITA that can be overcome, while the Kindle is left out to dry so long as Amazon won’t support ePub files. You can’t convert (legally) a DRMed epub file, so it doesn’t matter if B&N is willing to allow Amazon (or anyone else) to use their DRM scheme, the Kindle can’t use the DRMed books from B&N. Even when you stick to the “standard” epub DRM provided by ADE and used by nearly every other epub vendor, the Kindle still can’t do anything with them.

    Not to mention, you’ve not addressed any of the other, very real, concerns brought up in this blog. For eBooks to eventually succeed at the same level as digital music there will have to be a single format used by everyone. I don’t care what that format is, but it can’t be a proprietary format.

  10. Nicole says

    “If I buy a kindle I get to buy from Amazon and nobody else. That means I am completely reliant on what amazon make available and how much they charge for it.”

    This is false. With a Kindle, you can buy from at least 10 other places, including fictionwise, smashword, baen, manybooks, etc. I wish people would research this more instead of saying that you can only get Amazon books with a Kindle.

    Additionally, while I may like for Amazon to use epub for library borrowing, it doesn’t make sense for them to do so from a business standpoint. Amazon wants you to buy their books–they control the largest percentage of ebook purchases (like 60% or something). I imagine that figure would go down if they used epub, which would decrease there revenues. I look at the Sony and Nook boards and so many of they don’t buy their books from BN or Sony–at least for BN, they probably would prefer buying books from them (as they likely break even on Nook sales). It just wouldn’t make economic sense for Amazon to use epub unless they felt forced to. At this point, they don’t.

  11. Bubba says

    As a consumer, I don’t care about e-book format, because the interoperability problems are caused by the DRM, not the format. I like to use the Kindle because it seems that more books of the type that I read are available from Amazon for the Kindle than are available from B&N for the Nook. I also like the Kindle form factor, especially the K3, better than the Nook.

    Even if the Kindle did get epub, would I be able to buy a book from B&N and read it on the Kindle with epub?

    I guess when you talk about what format is the “standard”, one needs to look at how widely used each format is. How many books are available in epub format for Nook, vs. how many books are available for Amazon’s ebook formats, including mobi?

  12. Steve says

    Have to say I disagree with Andrew Wimble, Kindle does support other formats, but more importantly for me comparing the price of epub against kindle titles, and kindle wins hands down.

    For example the new Lee Child Book on Waterstones in epub format ‘Worth Dying For’ is £13.58, they sell the hardback on waterstones site for £8.99 for god sake. Compare that to the Kindle edition which is £6.64, cheaper than both the epub format and the hardback book itself.

  13. bob says

    I am buying a Sony touch for same reason.

    I hate the idea of buying a book on Amazon and only ever being able to read on a Kindle.

    What if Kindle stops being made and my Kindle breaks, bye bye library.

    what if Kindle breaks I want to buy a new reader that is better for me then a Kindle. bye bye library.

    Amazon does this for a simple reason, forces you to buy from their store, and forces you to rebuy a kindle if your current one breaks.

    what this tells me is they do not have confidence in their product or store to keep you coming back, therefore they feel the need to put in some insurance.

  14. Keith says

    I bought a Nook at the beginning of the year for this very reason, the universal epub format. Since then I have acquired books from a variety of sources, including the Sony ebookstore and been very pleased. The only ebooks I can’t put on my reader are the ones that Amazon sells. As for using a Nook vs. a Kindle I’ve had my hand on both now, and it’s a toss-up. With the nook you get a touchscreen and almost no buttons, with the Kindle you get lots of buttons. The screens seem identical in readability.

  15. Curt says

    Bob you have a good point. This forced hand is really going to backfire with Amazon because if I do go with the Kindle I will make sure I buy all my books elsewhere and just convert them to mobi so the kindle can read them.

  16. John Blackmore says

    Not sure what the problem is here. Have just downloaded a non protected epub and it works just fine on a Kindle. Can buy or download free books from many sources. Kindle books work on a Kindle, PC, Apple, I-pad, I-pod touch, Android devices.

    Are the problems that you are referring to about things in the past ?

  17. Ann says

    I read a lot and I buy a lot of books from favourite authors. However, I’m not a millionaire, so I also read a lot of library books. There are authors whose books I usually enjoy for 1 or 2 reads, but will never read again. I like to browse for authors new to me, and some of these I don’t enjoy, while others become favourites, whose books I start to buy. Most of these books will never be free eBooks in my lifetime because of copyright laws. It doesn’t matter how many free eBooks are available on-line if they aren’t the books I want. So being able to read library eBooks is important to me, as I’m sure it is to many others. I wouldn’t buy any more or any fewer books from Amazon if the Kindle read DRM ePub library books. It wouldn’t make any difference to my buying patterns, as I’m sure it wouldn’t to many others. So the only difference it makes that Kindle doesn’t read DRM ePub library books, is that I still haven’t bought a Kindle. I want a Kindle. I would buy one right now if it read library books, and I would probably buy my eBooks from them anyways, because I like their selection and price. I am getting tired of waiting for Kindle to capitulate on this issue and I will probably buy a different brand within the next few weeks. In reality, that will be two eReaders, because I will need one for my husband so we can register them on the same account. I’ve seen many comments on forums from people who gave up and bought a different brand over this issue. So I don’t see how it helps Amazon when they refuse to accommodate people who really want their product and would use their services in the same manner even if they could use free library books.

  18. Melissa says

    @Ann You’ve said it perfectly! I’m really struggling between getting a Nook, Sony Reader, or the Kindle. The problem being I want a Kindle, but like you I want to be able to use the library at times.

  19. Mike says

    Ann,

    I agree with you 100%. I REALLY want to give my wife the Kindle for Christmas, but it looks like the Nook is going to be the winner due soley to the epub issue. Kindle would be #1 far and above the others if only it supported epub. Amazon, please listen to potential and current customers. This is just like Apple and lack of flash support for Ipad. Give in and increase your sales already!

  20. John Blackmore says

    I can but agree that having epub would be good but my research suggests that when it comes to buying books Barnes & Noble are more expensive than Amazon. In fact all other on line book dealers are more expensive. Not sure what the library situation is in the UK – will have to investigate.
    Not so sure about Kindle not being able to read ebub. I accept that DRM epub is a no but I have recently downloaded epub ( The Old Curiosity shop and The Curious case of Benjamin Button) and they worked just fine.

  21. Ken says

    I used to love Amazon.com and buy all my books there.

    But I bought a Sony eReader instead of a Kindle because I hate to be controlled.

    Now I still use the Amazon website to look for books (it’s still a great website), don’t buy any books there. I can buy from anyone but Amazon now. Pity.

  22. John Blackmore says

    Just in case this helps anyone. I have downloaded Kindlegen

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000234621

    and easily converted the Count of Monte Cristo from epub to Mobi which works fine on a Kindle 3.

    I have not tried any DRM epubs but assume that they would not convert. If they did then why would anyone buy an Epub reader ? if books cost more and library books can so easily be converted.

    This looks to me like a DRM issue with Barns & Noble, W H Smith et al trying to protect their expensive books.

  23. Nicole says

    @Ken: How are you being controlled when, even if owning a kindle, you do not have to buy ALL of your books from Amazon? There is this idea floating out there that all books must be purchased from Amazon and that’s simply NOT TRUE.

  24. Ken says

    @Nicole “How are you being controlled…?”

    First, there is the well documented case of Amazon deleting ebooks that they found copyright problems with, even though they did refund the money. That’s way too much control.

    Second is the wireless network connection to the Kindle devices. They control it. They have full access to every Kindle. That’s way, way too much control for me to tolerate.

    Third is the knowledge they have from point two. They already use the things I search for on their site to target me for marketing. I hate being targeted for marketing. Knowledge of what books I buy is bad enough, but using knowledge of what I’m actually reading on my own time and when and how fast is just too much to stomach. (I saw where someone published logs from their Kindle that showed what data Amazon was collecting.)

    You can also submit your personal files to Amazon so they are converted and show up on your Kindle. How nice. How alarming.

    The issue isn’t what they do or have done. The issue is the power they have given themselves. And that power can be easily misappropriated by the power-usurping federal government.

    There was outrage when the Patriot Act enabled the feds to find out what we check out of public libraries. That was wise. Power over the Kindle would give them similar power but in an thorough, automated and efficient way.

  25. Nicole says

    “First, there is the well documented case of Amazon deleting ebooks that they found copyright problems with, even though they did refund the money. That’s way too much control.”

    One instance which they apologized profusely for and said they wouldn’t do it again. (And they haven’t. I do have a book that has now been pulled from Amazon due to copyright issues. The book is able to be downloaded from my archive and is on my device. No one can newly purchase the book, however. Amazon has learned from their mistake).

    “Second is the wireless network connection to the Kindle devices. They control it. They have full access to every Kindle. That’s way, way too much control for me to tolerate.”

    Amazon is not the only one that provides wireless service for their device. Do you have this same complaint with BN’s nook?

    “Third is the knowledge they have from point two. They already use the things I search for on their site to target me for marketing. I hate being targeted for marketing. Knowledge of what books I buy is bad enough, but using knowledge of what I’m actually reading on my own time and when and how fast is just too much to stomach. (I saw where someone published logs from their Kindle that showed what data Amazon was collecting.)”

    See above.

    “You can also submit your personal files to Amazon so they are converted and show up on your Kindle. How nice. How alarming.”

    You can also use Calibre to send your personal docs to Amazon yourself, instead of asking amazon to do it for you.

    It’s cool that you love your sony. I thought about getting a cheap one for library books (but my local library has a crappy ebook selection, so the issue is moot). I’m not a kindle fangirl in the least–it has it’s negatives. However, what is tops for me (and what made my choice) is the Amazon bookstore (widest breath and best prices for non agency books) and their customer service.

  26. Ken says

    @Nicole “…my local library has a crappy ebook selection…”

    I predict that will change.

    The Firefox web browser now has an add-on that allows reading epub documents directly in the browser. It doesn’t handle DRM, but if there’s a link to the book, just click on it and start reading. They are reporting that there have already been almost a QUARTER of a MILLION downloads, and downloads are increasing at an increasing rate.
    http://www.epubread.com/en/

    The point is, eBooks (and especially the ePub format) are growing in popularity REAL FAST. Libraries are tending toward obsolete anyway due to ebooks, so any library that doesn’t support ebook lending will soon have to close its doors.

  27. Nicole says

    “I predict that will change.”

    I’m sure it will. That said, I haven’t had a library card since I was in high school. Thus, library ebook borrowing was not a priority in my selection for an ebook reader. It’d be a bonus. When my local library has more books, I’ll just download the new bluefire (sp?) app that works with Overdrive and read books on my phone.

    I think it’s great that readers have so many options for which ereader to purchase or which app to use.

  28. Nicole says

    “I’m sure it will. That said, I haven’t had a library card since I was in high school. ”

    I wanted to edit more info with this, but saw I couldn’t. Just wanted to add that I tend to buy my books anyway, so that’s why library borrowing wasn’t a big concern (and why I haven’t gone to a non-university affiliated library since HS).

  29. John Harris says

    @ ken – understand you points about control but can’t resist that in opting for Sony it could still be argued that you have been controlled. For me it is a non issue.

    @ Nicole – same as you – I just wanted a way to buy books as cheaply as possible.

    Putting the politics on one side – does anyone know why epub DRM is not possible on the Kindle ? My thought is that as epub with DRM can easily be converted a read that the culprits here might be the epub with DRM publishers ?

    Kindle have produced free apps for the ipad, ipod, andriod etc understanding that selling the reader is not the issue.

    I would have thought that Sony B&N and the other epub people were the ones stopping DRM epub on the Kindle ?

  30. Ken says

    @Nicole “I tend to buy my books anyway, so that’s why library borrowing wasn’t a big concern”

    Back when the Patriot Act came out, Charles Krauthammer said public libraries were already obsolete anyway because most people log into Amazon.com and buy their books instead of borrowing them from a library.

    At first I thought that was wrong. Then I realized it perfectly described me and a lot of other people I know–and apparently you too.

    So now eLending can chip away some more at the brick and mortar.

    BTW, I do have a library card, though I haven’t been inside a library in 3 years or so. But I was pleased to see that apparently all public libraries in Maryland have united their eBook lending at:
    http://maryland.lib.overdrive.com/

  31. Keith says

    I just want to know which is the best one to purchase for my wife as a Christmas gift. Kindle seems to get all of the best reviews but I sure like to way the books look on the Color Nook…..but will B&N still be B&N in a few months? Seems like they are in trouble right now and would like to sell to Borders. So I think the Nook will still work….but for how long….Wow….so many questions i have but can’t ask them all.

  32. Nicole says

    @John

    The problem IS the DRM. Epub books can be easily converted into Mobi by using Calibre and read on the Kindle. The issue is DRM, which would need to be stripped before a program could convert epub into a kindle compatible format. But, stripping DRM is illegal.

    BTW, while google books are technically not compatible with kindle (as in, able to download directly to the device), the books can be read in the kindle browser. I tried it out and it’s not half bad.

    I don’t think anyone is stopping Amazon/Kindle from being compatible with epub. Amazon has just chosen not to be compatible with that format. FWIW, though, I could see Amazon allowing epub compatibility eventually—but, that doesn’t mean that Amazon will make their books in epub. THey’d probably stick with AZW and allow other sellers to license the format if they want compatibility with Amazon books.

  33. Lauren says

    Ann, I completely agree with you. If Kindle offered ePub use through library borrowing, from a company like Overdrive (which most public libraries use), then I would buy one in a second. I am a school librarian and buy print books from Amazon all the time for my students, but as a librarian, I must continue to advocate for library use. When my students ask me about eReaders, Kindle being the one they know best, I must tell them, they won’t be able to borrow our town’s library books with that particular device. We’re not made of money, Amazon, and neither certainly are my teenaged students. And what’s more is the simple fact that I don’t want to own every book. If I wanted to really own a book, to keep on my bookshelf, to loan to friends, I would buy a print copy. After I read some books once, I would like to give them back, thus the use of the library. This does not curb my book spending, however. I still, to my husband’s chagrin, buy tons of books each year. But really Amazon, I don’t think public libraries are dead, as you would probably like to think. And all your competitors are allowing library borrowed drm enabled eBooks to read on their devices. Get with the program. You think you’re going to lose money from people not buying eBooks from you, but look at the money you’re losing from people choosing to buy other devices because of this issue.

  34. Chris says

    I’ve seen several writers claims that Amazon has no reason to support ePub, as customers would then read library books instead of buying from Amazon.

    There’s a huge flaw in this argument – namely, Amazon is not the only eReader supplier. Those customer who want to eLend from libraries, will buy the Nook instead; which means that their future book purchses will not be from Amazon.

    In other words, not only will Amazon have lost all those potential Kindle customers – they will also have lost all thos customers future ebook purchases, as well. Sure, some people will buy fewer books and use libaries instead; but Amazon blacklisting ePub won’t stop them; they’ll simply buy Nooks.

    Libraries have coexisted with bookstores for a very long time – if their existence didn’t cause people to stop buying physical books, eLibraries won’t stop people buying eBooks. Library ebooks have the same disadvantages as physical library books; ie you can’t always get them when you want them. Hence readers will probably choose to buy vs borrow at about the same percentage they always have.

  35. N Carney says

    I downloaded Fall of Giants from our local library FREE. It is $19 for the Kindle edition. I received both a Kindle and Nook as presents and the Kindle was sent back. No monetary advantage to a Kindle if the public libraries only use ePub.

  36. Lyn says

    I agree that the a standard ebook system will improve everyone’s experience. Historically, once a standardized system for technology becomes accepted by the public, manufacturers limiting their products to proprietary systems alienate consumers. Multiple examples of this exist in the past 30 years as seen in audio, visual, and fields. Forcing the public to choose between your reader that only works with your software and another manufacturers reader that handles several formats, including an industry standard is the quickest way for any manufacturer to put themselves out of business. Consumers want and expect choices; limiting that flexibility is business suicide.

  37. Sam says

    Well, here we are at the beginning of the new year with no change from Amazon. For my money, which went to other ereaders by the way, Amazon is competing with Apple; both companies seem to have decided what is best for us and we need to just comply and stop complaining. The 1984 irony is just everywhere.

    Thanks to Amazon’s arrogance, I have found better alternatives. Thank goodness for competition!

  38. John Blackmore says

    Sam – curious as to why you think Amazon are competing with Apple. There is a kindle app to allow I-pad, I-pod touch etc users read kindle books. Sound more like co-operation than competition.

  39. Pat says

    Interesting debate. In the end though, even Amazon doesn’t have enough clout to set a default standard industry wide. And, a default standard there will eventually be. It has ALWAYS been thus in tech. Eventually, a standard emerges. I put my $ on ePub. Amazon will eventually ‘capitulate’. It may take a few years if past behavior of content company execs is any indication (think music execs) but, it will happen…

  40. Eric says

    Even if you ignore DRM, book producers will tell you there’s three different flavors of ePUB they have to produce anyway: Google, Apple, and others. None of the readers render ePUB exactly the same way. Remember the browser wars? This is pretty much the same, but the cause is invisible to the end user.

  41. cosette says

    Is there any software (free) that can convert Amazons Kindle ebook format into epub (or even pdf) format? I have a Nook, but sometimes Amazon has some good sales/promotions on their Kindlebook prices.

  42. John Blackmore says

    Biggest problem is going to be illegally getting around the DRM.

    Better to just buy a Kindle – non DRM e-pub can easily be converted to be read by KIndle and where I live kindle books with DRM are much cheaper than e-pub books with DRM

  43. Ken says

    @John Blackmore: “…just buy a Kindle…”

    What if you don’t want a Kindle? But you are right that DRM is the problem.

    Amazon doesn’t always have the lowest price. There are LOTs of online books stores competing. There are search sites that will go out and look for the best price for you. Check out these: inkmesh.com, ebooks.addall.com

  44. John Blackmore says

    @Ken – Sorry Ken it’s only a book reader. I get the impression that because its Amazon or because they now have 75% or whatever of the market that some people feel the need to be different and buy something else.

    I understand the library point – but where I live no library e-books. As to price , thanks, will check but so far have been amazed at how much more expensive waterstones, WH Smith, Barnes etc have been.

  45. nancy bout says

    I bought a nook,I am very happy with my purchase.My reason was SIMPLE,EPUP.The format you want your ebooks to be,In my opinion,Is important.
    For those who are OK with Kindle thats wonderful.I personally like Kindle,but As somebody said,they are similar.Nook N Kindlee;

  46. says

    Wow, it seems that most of the commenters miss the point. Also, when they talk about converting from epub, I bet you they are talking only about simple texts without any layout for formatting.

    Amazon should migrate away from the mobipocket format because it is just sucky.

    Support for borders? Nope. Support for UTF? Nope. Support for floats? Nope. Support for css-width? Nope. Did you know it is virtually impossible to wrap text around an image? did you know that Mobipocket uses proprietary tags to solve things which have been solved long ago by plain HTML and CSS? Did you know that mobipocket sometimes blows up your image to fill the page or adds blank pages?

    I have a good epub toolchain and workflow, but I’m afraid I have to spend a good 75% of my technical time dumbing down my epub file just to make it appear minimally decent for kindlegen to convert it to mobipocket. Amazon is good at marketing their online store, and the device has a decent enough interface, but when you get a Kindle, you essentially get something capable of reading only one kind of outdated format.

  47. Andreas says

    I absolutely wanted to buy the Kindle 3G but mainly because of the lack of ePUB support I ended up paying almost three times as much money for a Sony Reader PRS-950 Daily edition. I do not regret it one bit. The Sony PRS-950 is a beautiful tool. I love it.

    The lack of ePUB support on the Kindle was not the only reason I choose the Sony Reader. The great responsive touchscreen on the Sony was a big incentive too. For a short while it was difficult to choose between the Sony and the Pocketbook Pro 903. But the Pocketbook was not as responsive as the Sony and had some licensing problems with its dictionaries. Also the Pocketbook’s touchscreen was more primitive and could only be operated using a stylus, and its software had more bugs.

    If the Kindle had supported ePUB I would not have studied the other options and have bought a Kindle 3G without thinking about it. I am now so glad I did not. I want to be able to read books in my own language (dutch) and german, which are almost exclusively published in ePUB, as well as english. And I do not want my book collection to be held hostage by Amazon. I want to be able to use my books on any eReader I decide to buy. When I buy the books, they are mine and I use them as I see fit, on any reader I want to spent my money on.

  48. StephenM says

    Andreas:

    “And I do not want my book collection to be held hostage by Amazon. I want to be able to use my books on any eReader I decide to buy. When I buy the books, they are mine and I use them as I see fit, on any reader I want to spent my money on.”

    The problem with this statement is that it also applies to B&N, Borders, etc. Any DRMed eBook, including a DRMed ePub file, will be hostage to that only those readers that the bookstore has licensed their DRM format to. Adobe Digital Editions has to be licensed from Adobe, and if B&N, for example, decides to stop licensing the ADE DRM from Adobe, then you will potentially lose access to those eBooks in future devices, or potentially even in the current one, if a licensing update occurs. This is one of the biggest problems with DRM.