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Old 07-25-2011, 04:46 PM   #46
stonetools
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Originally Posted by EatingPie View Post
A very good question.

The business reason would be that they only have to produce one book format instead of two. Beside that, what's to stop another player from coming along and demanding books in their format.

Amazon may pay them to release in .mobi format, and that would settle that. OTOH, Rowling herself owns the digital rights and (presumably) makes the final decision on anything. I don't know how easy it is to bribe the richest woman in the world!

-Pie

You should know that Ms. Rowling owns an ebook reader-a Kindle. . Somehow I doubt that she objects to her books coming out in mobi. format or is concerned about geek ideas of "openness".
If anyone seriously thinks that the Pottermore business team is making decisions based on which format can better handle hanging indents or image re-flow, well, they just don't understand the situation.
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Old 07-25-2011, 04:58 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by whitedirewolf View Post
Just like a music store selling MP3, an eBook store can set its own price and restrictions, but still offer a book in standard format.
There is a cartel that contractually prohibit e-book stores from setting their own price for many e-books.
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Old 07-25-2011, 05:07 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by EatingPie View Post
I've read a lot about this, and I am hoping Amazon goes ePUB. Not a slam dunk, but I think it the more likely course.

Here's a few things that I think are factual, from what I can garner.

Rowling said no DRM on the books.
http://www.wired.com/underwire/2011/...rmore-details/

Books are via Google Books (obviously), making them ePub.
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2388789,00.asp

Books are sold exclusively through Pottermore, Google can't even sell them on their site.
http://www.wired.com/underwire/2011/...rmore-details/

Pottermore sells the books, and purchases are through Google Checkout.
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2388789,00.asp

Google did not say that the arrangement was exclusive.
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2388789,00.asp

Amazon has said they are "working closely with Pottermore to make sure Kindle customers will be able to buy and read J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books."
http://paidcontent.org/article/419-a...ble-on-kindle/

Again, I'm pretty sure those are all facts. The PC Mag article saying that Google did not claim exclusive rights was ambiguous. Is it non-exclusive rights to Google Books, or Google Checkout? If it's the former, then Amazon may be able to license .mobi versions. However, PCMag implies the latter, meaning you could pay through Amazon Marketplace or something; that has no effect whatsoever on format, just payment option.

So it basically boils down to this: if Google Books has exclusive rights to the books, Amazon has to support ePUB. If not, Amazon can make a deal for a .mobi version.

I am sincerely hoping that Amazon is pushed in to ePUB. It's not like that'll be hard. They could either pay ADE licensing, or buy up an existing iPad/iPod 3rd Party ePUB reader. Or they could bite the bullet and develop their own.

-Pie
Google Books is an optional delivery method, not the only.
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Old 07-25-2011, 05:13 PM   #49
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Many smaller book stores use Adept DRM.
Major stores with their own associated ereaders do not. Amazon don't, Apple don't, B&N don't and Kobo only do when selling to non-Kobo devices, they use their own DRM for their own devices. Any (English-speaking) major player who has the option of using their own DRM rather than paying Adobe has taken than option.
Sony, B&N and Kobo (doesn't matter too much what they use internally) use Adobe DRM. Apple uses Fairplay. Amazon uses its own grown from Mobi DRM.

So most major stores use Adobe, not none as you say.
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Old 07-25-2011, 05:49 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by CleverClothe View Post
Sony, B&N and Kobo (doesn't matter too much what they use internally) use Adobe DRM. Apple uses Fairplay. Amazon uses its own grown from Mobi DRM.

So most major stores use Adobe, not none as you say.
B&N do not use the standard Adept DRM that other Adobe stores use, which is why many readers cannot read B&N books. So Sony (if you count them as a major store), and Kobo (for non-Kobo devices only) use the standard Adept DRM. Vs Amazon, Apple, B&N and Kobo (for Kobo devices) that do not. 1.5 for, 3.5 against.
By %age of books sold, an overwhelming proportion of the market do not use standard Adept DRM. Even excluding Amazon and sticking just to ePub books, this is still true. This is hardly surprising, why would they want to pay Adobe 22c per book sold for something that a major player could instead do for themselves?
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Old 07-25-2011, 06:06 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by stonetools View Post
You should know that Ms. Rowling owns an ebook reader-a Kindle. . Somehow I doubt that she objects to her books coming out in mobi. format or is concerned about geek ideas of "openness".
If anyone seriously thinks that the Pottermore business team is making decisions based on which format can better handle hanging indents or image re-flow, well, they just don't understand the situation.
When I wrote that post, I was thinking, "I bet she owns a Kindle!"

Your logic is sound. And, to be 100% honest, I am wrote that post mostly on hope rather than reason. I want a standardized format, and it is in the best interest of consumers, with Amazon the only hold out. But wanting something doesn't make it so.

You do have to admit, however, that it's strange a Kindle owner would choose the two companies most opposed Amazon: Google and Sony. And that their announcement would suggest there's only one format.

-Pie
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Old 07-25-2011, 07:42 PM   #52
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The HP books use multiple fonts. ePub can duplicate that. Mobipocket cannot embed fonts.

If the HP ePub are done correctly, we could have a very nice reading experience and maybe Rowling wants that in the Kindle. Maybe she doesn't want a version that gives a lesser reading experience.
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Old 07-26-2011, 02:36 AM   #53
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If the HP ePub are done correctly, we could have a very nice reading experience and maybe Rowling wants that in the Kindle. Maybe she doesn't want a version that gives a lesser reading experience.
I don't think that it was her who decided every detail in the layout of her pbooks. Most likely, it was all done by typesetting professionals who prepared several nicely looking dummies and asked her to choose which one she prefers.

Mobi might not support every feature of epub but it is not a reason to reject mobi format because the differences are not very significant.

E-readers require change of typesetting philosophy. There is no use to trying duplicate every feature of print typography. Font embedding could be a nice feature but it is optional because the power of an ereader is to choose the fonts of your liking. A publisher no longer can force such things on readers and they have to invent a different approach to provide the best reading experience. For example, I would like to see a possibility to provide automatic footnotes. It should not be too difficult to provide a footer or a running head whenever the text requires it.
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Old 07-26-2011, 02:48 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by EatingPie View Post
The business reason would be that they only have to produce one book format instead of two. Beside that, what's to stop another player from coming along and demanding books in their format.
For a book that is projected to sell by millions the cost of producing a slightly different format is trivial. And the small players can use Calibre and fix any inconsistencies with little effort. It is much less of a burden than a necessity to fix OCR errors when producing an ebook from printed works.

Judging from the poor OCR work in many e-books it seems that for many publishers e-books are just like demands for another format without reason. They see it only as a burden not as a wonderful business opportunity.
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Old 07-26-2011, 02:51 AM   #55
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I don't think that it was her who decided every detail in the layout of her pbooks. Most likely, it was all done by typesetting professionals who prepared several nicely looking dummies and asked her to choose which one she prefers.

Mobi might not support every feature of epub but it is not a reason to reject mobi format because the differences are not very significant.

E-readers require change of typesetting philosophy. There is no use to trying duplicate every feature of print typography. Font embedding could be a nice feature but it is optional because the power of an ereader is to choose the fonts of your liking. A publisher no longer can force such things on readers and they have to invent a different approach to provide the best reading experience. For example, I would like to see a possibility to provide automatic footnotes. It should not be too difficult to provide a footer or a running head whenever the text requires it.
I don't think she did it all, but I'd be surprised if she didn't at least have input on it.

Also, many ebook readers don't give you the option to change fonts. Most I've used just let you change size. The nook was the first one I messed with that let you change font, and it has a grand total of 3 (and two of them are pretty similar to eachother, so really it boils down to serif or sansserif.)
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Old 07-26-2011, 03:07 AM   #56
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Also, many ebook readers don't give you the option to change fonts. Most I've used just let you change size. The nook was the first one I messed with that let you change font, and it has a grand total of 3 (and two of them are pretty similar to eachother, so really it boils down to serif or sansserif.)
Kindle doesn't allow to change fonts officially but it can be done with jailbreaking. The possibility is there and we only need publishers and authors to nudge Amazon and others to provide more features. If Rowling could exert such influence that would be great.

The problem is that authors usually don't want to give more options to readers, instead they want to force exact format they personally like. It is not reasonable because then the pdf is the ultimate format for every reader. Due to this conflict the development of e-formats is hampered.
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Old 07-26-2011, 04:52 AM   #57
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The HP books use multiple fonts. ePub can duplicate that. Mobipocket cannot embed fonts.
Do they? I don't see any evidence of that. Can you give an example?
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Old 07-26-2011, 05:48 AM   #58
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E-readers require change of typesetting philosophy. There is no use to trying duplicate every feature of print typography. Font embedding could be a nice feature but it is optional because the power of an ereader is to choose the fonts of your liking. A publisher no longer can force such things on readers and they have to invent a different approach to provide the best reading experience. For example, I would like to see a possibility to provide automatic footnotes. It should not be too difficult to provide a footer or a running head whenever the text requires it.
Nonsense.

Modern electronic devices are perfectly capable of reproducing all the typographical nuances of print. Even in a reflowable setting in which the base font and screen sizes are undetermined it's possible to reproduce the vast majority of elements found in print. The only reason the .mobi format is so limited is because Amazon has failed to develop it. It's perfectly within their power to expand the spec to allow a richer set of parameters.

There is no need to change basic typographic practice, which has been honed over the course of hundreds of years. The technology needs to catch up and become more capable rather than dictating a new set of limitations. Print has its limitations as well, and where electronic systems allow new practices that transcend those, then that's a good thing, but this mustn't be used to impose a new straight-jacket on the design of books.

People make a big deal about being able to change the fonts. If the person who designed the book doesn't care what font you use, then fine, change it to suit your taste. I certainly would have difficulty reading everything in Caecilia. But if the designer carefully picked a specific font in order to lend a specific character to the work, then you're corrupting the experience by using something else. It should still be possible, if only because ereaders have a responsibility to accommodate those with impaired vision, but it should be clear that you're experiencing a modified version.

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Do they? I don't see any evidence of that. Can you give an example?
The UK books from Bloomsbury are all set in Garamond, but the US publisher commissioned a new font for the titlepage and headings, and uses Felt Tip Roman for Hagrid's handwritten notes.
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:18 AM   #59
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The UK books from Bloomsbury are all set in Garamond, but the US publisher commissioned a new font for the titlepage and headings, and uses Felt Tip Roman for Hagrid's handwritten notes.
Thanks - that explains it; I've only seen the UK versions.
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:42 AM   #60
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It's not just Hagrid. Most of the main characters in the US editions have individual fonts for at least their signatures, if not whole notes/letters, as do advertisements, proclamations, etc., but as I've said before, I highly suspect we are in the minority there. The rest of the world got on with the story just fine without having a dozen different fonts, so it's not like that part of the formatting absolutely must be preserved at all costs (assuming mobi really can't replicate it, and I don't have enough format know-how to say for sure it can't). For that matter, most of the books I rebought electronically don't have the same fonts/formatting as their paper counterparts, even with publisher defaults left on, so I don't see why the Harry Potter books have to. I like the extra fonts, sure, because they add a lot of flavor to the story, but they're not an absolute necessity. And, frankly, I'd have sacrificed them to keep the text from the Bloomsbury editions, but that's a whole different soapbox.

All that said, I'm skeptical that Pottermore is going to force Amazon to support epub or any other similar such standardization. We already know the books are going to be DRM free, so the files just need to be multi-format like Smashwords et al. Especially since the original press release/FAQ said they were going to try and offer as many formats as possible. There was nothing about that which suggested format standardization to me. *shrug*

Last edited by Nahgem; 07-26-2011 at 06:55 AM. Reason: clarification
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