EPUB formatted books as an industry wide standard is what I, and many others want. But can we achieve this without Amazon’s adoption — at least with ePub support on their Kindle eBook reader.
It will certainly be a lot easier to have a standard eBook format if Amazon joined the ePub party. I’m reluctant to say it but all current indications show that Amazon will not adopt the ePub format in the near future – but perhaps there is hope.
Recently we have seen a flurry of publishers and eBook projects (including yours truly) adopting the ePub format and a number of these are pushing their titles onto the iPhone/iPod Touch platform via the Stanza eBook reader. Feedbooks, Project Gutenberg are the two big projects but we now have Pan Macmillan offering commercial Tasters and in the last few days BookGlutton announced that they have joined forces with Stanza. Interesting times ahead for sure.
With all this recent iPhone/eBook activity I am asking myself, where is Amazon? The Kindle is certainly making waves with big sale numbers but this is probably nothing compared to iPhone sales. This makes me wonder if Amazon will start making their titles available on this platform and if so, what format will they use. If they use their own eBook format (AZW), they would need to release a dedicated ‘Amazon eBook Reader’ — how many different iPhone reader applications will people accept?
Everyone around here knows that having one standard eBook format will better serve everyone. If Amazon opens their Kindle to the ePub format and strikes a deal with a company such as Lexcycle (Stanza) they could kill two birds with one stone. Hmm, perhaps an Amazon/Stranza union is a little too much wishful thinking.
Providing direct purchase and download would make Amazon a serious option for any iPhone or iPod Touch user, and vise versa.
So, can Amazon leverage the iPhone to further dominate the eBook market and can they continue to resist the ePub eBook format?
Disclaimer: The Amazon/ePub logo I created is intended just for fun.
Feedbooks have announced on their Blog that they have now surpassed 1,000,000 downloads of ePub files – this is a serious achievement!
The release of the Stanza eBook reader on the iPhone and the ePub update to the Sony Reader have of course helped greatly, but this is still impressive as they have managed this milestone in just short of 2 months.
It must be noted though that this is not necessarily the number of ePub books, I would imagine the Feed count will far exceed the eBook count.
UPDATE:Hadrien from Feedbooks has confirmed that at least 90% of the downloads are of actual eBooks.
This shows real indications that eBook users are wanting DRM-Free ePub formatted eBooks. Another reminder for publishers to reconsider their use of DRM on eBooks.
UPDATE: Stanza is no longer maintained so I’d recommend you try out Bluefire Reader. Checkout my iPhone or iPad pages for some more information on reading EPUB books on the iPhone with Blurefire and other apps.
Ready … Set … Read!
This is the headline on the Lexcycle website for their new iPhone eBook reader called Stanza. They’re touting this as the ‘premier electronic book reader for the iPhone and the iPod Touch‘ which more importantly (at least for me) has the ability to read ebooks in the EPUB format.
Stanza is still in beta at the moment so there will be a few bugs hanging around but hopefully lexcycle will go final soon. [UPDATE: Stanza is now considered one of the best free eReaders out there with most bugs fixed, and available for iPhone and iPad].
Okay, so now you have your Stanza/iPhone EPUB reader, but where do you get your books from? This is the easy part…
You can download lots of free EPUB ebooks right here on epubBooks.com.
Alternatively, you can use Feedbooks, whose catalogue is available from directly within the Stanza app.
Browsing and downloading books once you’ve installed Stanza is very intuitive, just select Online Catalog and Feedbooks to get books from our service — feedbooks.com
Commercial ebooks are not currently available so all the titles you’ll find are in the public domain, but what’s available from both epubBooks and Feedbooks should keep everyone reading happy for a lifetime.
Right, all I need now is an iPhone…
UPDATE: I now have a full review of the iPod Touch and the Apple iPad – these two reviews have lots of information on adding ebooks to your Apple device as well as what other EPUB eReader apps are available, and all of which can be used on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
Feedbooks are at it again, now they’ve gone and updated their RSS tool to include conversions to the ePub format! I’ve been playing around with this and it’s a really cool app – you can even supply your own RSS feeds. The converter actually outputs to a number of different formats including;
- Sony Reader (PDF)
Hadrien, Feedbooks co-founder, posted that along with adding support for ePub and Mobipocket, the files will generate much faster and there is also an “API endpoint for developers to create applications (such as iNewsStand on the iLiad).”
Continue reading Feedbooks RSS tool converts to EPUB
Last week, Feedbooks co-founder, Hadrien Gardeur announced on the mobileread.com forum that they will be releasing their own dedicated E-Ink eBook reader!
Feedbooks.com is a service that provides public domain eBooks for download in multiple formats, including of course ePub.
The device itself will be available later this year (September/October 2008) through a large French retailer (yet to be announced) and then via online ordering later in the year.
Hadrien mentioned that they are dedicating their resources to what they consider to be the ‘basic features’ that any dedicated reader should have.
- A 6″ E-Ink device (presumably the Vizplex display), based on Linux 2.6.
- Browsing for books via folders or metadata
- A real bookmarking system (similar to the Sony Reader)
- A simple, yet customizable UI
Hadrien didn’t give too many details away just yet, but he promised to provide screenshots and even videos closer to the time!
As the Feedbooks website provides books in the ePub format I very much hope that their reader will be able to reader ePub books natively.