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Old 11-25-2007, 12:22 AM   #11
Steven Lyle Jordan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidt349 View Post
You can't justify the mobipocket format's intractability by saying "it supports old devices" or "it's a de facto standard." That's the same logic that Microsoft uses to keep us locked into their proprietary binary document formats (and now proprietary XML document formats). If there are industry standards that everyone else has agreed to it makes absolutely no sense not to follow them except if they're trying to monopolize the market by using standards lockout.

It's incidentally the same logic that gave us HTML hell back in the nineties. Neither Netscape nor Microsoft wanted to play by a common set of rules; instead they just did whatever they pleased with HTML as a standard, and by the end it really wasn't one.
I wouldn't compare Mobi's creation and development with the Browser Wars... in that case, there was a standardized format that two companies corrupted for their own purposes. In Mobi's case, there was no accepted e-book standard, and they were like every other e-book publisher, creating their own standard based on what they felt was needed.

No, there was nothing right about those publishers creating their own e-book format. They, and all the other e-book makers, could have gone with the closest thing we had to a standard universal format at the time--PDF--and be done with it.

It would have been nice if Amazon had come out with the Kindle about a year from now, based on ePub, the closest thing we have to a new universal XHTML-based format.

But the Kindle came out now, and right now, Mobipocket is the most widely used and widely available e-book standard there is, a no-brainer for a company that wants to sell an e-book reader. You can't blame Amazon for going for the existing and dominant format, instead of creating their own or going with a brand new, untested format... it's enough that they're getting into the hardware business, it's too much to have them turn into programmers, too.

I think we're all hoping that a sensible universal format, like ePub, becomes ubiquitous in the e-book arena. If so, ePub documents will be able to be converted to Kindle/Mobi (and any other format) easily enough.

In the meantime, all we can do is take the tools we're given, and figure out the best way to use them... or, if they are too distasteful, to opt out of using them at all. In other words, that fight is already over, it's time to pick a new battle.
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