Originally Posted by Andrew H.
I am very curious to see what the new format can do, though - and if anyone will take advantage of it.
And *that* is the only thing that matters.
Speculating/whining about the plumbing might be a fun diversion for some but out in the real world what matters is what added value the new format enables for consumers.
The KF8 page linked by the OP points out some interesting possibilities:
- textbooks and academic papers
- interactive children's books and training manuals
- native-format comics structured around "Kindle panels" (whatever that may be.
Reflowable comics? Guided-view?)
- native-format fixed-page layouts
- embedded fonts and drop-caps, etc for those that want to tart-up ebooks to imitate print editions
- pretty much everything epub3 is supposed to do (it might even be epub3 in disguise
The existing mobi format has proven itself sufficient for narrative text ebooks that constitute Amazon's stock in trade and the bulk of their catalog. It was also enough to take ebooks from a techie niche to a mainstream consumer product.
KF8 looks to extend the Kindle focus to Academia, education, comics, and possibly even the corporate markets. Plus do a much better job at newspapers and magazines. These are all places where epub3 should be useful and where it might have been a competitive weapon for competitors.
I don't think the timing of this announcement is an accident: shortly after epub3 is finalized but before any consumer-level implementation (gadget or app) is announced, much less delivered. This is simply a preemptive strike at the epub3 hype to come, probably from Apple (the most likely to be first to deploy) as well as a notice to publishers that yes, it is safe to invest in rich content ebooks because by the time the books reach market there will be millions of Kindle readers, tablets, and apps ready for them.
Which is to say: this is good for everybody, not just Kindle users.
Whine all you want about Amazon's go-it-alone approach if that is your mission in life, but Amazon has just settled the chicken and egg question for the next phase of the ebook evolution and greased the skids for epub3 (and equivalents) to be commercially viable at least one year sooner than without them.
That this puts their competitors under the gun to rush their deployment of epub3 and forces them to promise to upgrade their current models is just a bit of frosting on the cake. Any competitor without an epub3 (or equivalent) solution in place by spring is going to be at a serious marketting disadvantage.
Competitors compete; losers whine.
And the ebook business just got another boost.