Originally Posted by gmw
One way to avoid many of these edge cases - which will probably exist regardless of how clever they make their automation - is to support something like epub directly, even if that means that there are some limitations imposed on what they do with it (what they convert to etc.). It seems like an obvious, and fairly easy, thing to do, so I'm guessing there's some reputation covering stuff involved in why they don't: by forcing everything through the same grinder they limit how the system can be abused, and so limit how they can be blamed for poor products (blame from either end). But they might find that such a reluctance to look ahead will backfire on them in the long term.
I believe you would have just as many, possibly more, edge cases with EPUB, or MOBI, or whatever format you pick. They will likely be different edge cases, but I do not think they would be any less bad.
Part of it maybe to do all the conversions the need to do for all the stores they send to, .doc might be the lowest common format to use. Unless some rep from Smash comes here and tells us why they choose to standardize around DOC, I can only guess.
No one disagrees that a "one size fits all" really never does fit all. The point really is that they needed to standardize on something to keep support and complexity down, and they chose DOC. Why? I would guess because everyone knows word docs, and they are a much wider standard then EPUB or MOBI. But thats just a guess.