Originally Posted by charmian
I am confused why people think the Kindle supporting DRM-free epub is a big deal from a consumer perspective. From the publisher or author perspective, this might be a big deal, but it is meaningless to a consumer of ebooks that use ADE epub (B&N store, Kobo store, Sony store) unless the Kindle also allows that DRM. Kindle users already don't need Calibre to format shift from epub if no DRM is involved.
Granted, this might make a difference for people who shop at stores that sell DRM-free epub, but don't those stores usually offer DRM-free mobi also?
In most cases you are probably right, but ePub does provide for better formatted books, which ultimately is a benefit to consumers. For example, books such as Tom Sawyer, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Alice in Wonderland, and tons of other public domain books are not only illustrated, but the illustrations are part of the reason these books are classics. The mobi file format doesn't reproduce these books very well.
The biggest problem is that the mobi format doesn't support images with text flowing around it, so you lose some of character of the original books. Mobi doesn't even support something as simple as a drop cap. This complaint isn't just limited to classically illustrated books either. Any book that incorporates images -- textbooks, cookbooks, whatever, all benefit from the ability to flow text around the images.
Note that is still only one example of an advantage of ePub over mobi, and there are other formatting advantages as well. The ability to produce better formatted books ultimately produces better products for consumers. (Yet for most books, such as novels without illustrations, it probably doesn't matter what file format is used.)