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Old 07-22-2011, 10:56 AM   #1
L.J. Sellers
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Can JK Rowling bring on e-book standardization?

Some speculation that Amazon will begin to support epub files.

http://paidcontent.org/article/419-a...ble-on-kindle/

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Old 07-22-2011, 11:02 AM   #2
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There's nothing new in this article. All this has been discussed extensively in earlier threads here.
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Old 07-22-2011, 11:29 AM   #3
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I'm sure Harry is right, and this has been discussed extensively in other threads, but I haven't waded through all the other threads that started out discussing one topic and transitioned into discussing these issues. So, I appreciate the OP's question and link to an article that raises these issues specifically.

I think we will all have to wait until October to find out the answer to her question. If Amazon did start supporting ePub, even if just DRM-free ePub, that would be a pretty huge development, and I think you would have to give J.K. Rowling the credit for pushing Amazon into supporting the file format.

I'm just not so sure this is going to be what happens. It may be that Rowling just offers a Kindle (mobi or AZW) version of the books, but at least it looks like there is a chance Amazon will start supporting ePub.

P.S. I gave the original poster some karma. She has been contributing here for awhile, and although not a lot of posts, they are usually quality posts. I certainly recognize her avatar and am surprised she doesn't have more karma. Just say'n.
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Old 07-22-2011, 11:38 AM   #4
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I am afraid that it is a Red Herring.... I strongly suspect that it will be PDF instead of ePUB.
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Old 07-22-2011, 11:59 AM   #5
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Thanks, Daithi! I would post more often but many of the threads are too technical for me.

I'm hoping for standardization, because as an author, I give away hundreds of e-books and I always have to ask the question: epub or mobi? It requires two emails instead of one.
Cheers.
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Old 07-22-2011, 12:21 PM   #6
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Well here's something I noticed. The original announcement said that the Harry Potter books would be available for "all ereaders" (which the collective "we" of MR were skeptical of). Now the FAQ, as quoted in the article says this:

What formats will the ebooks be available in? Will I be able to read them on my iPad/Sony (NYSE: SNE) eReader/Kindle…?
The Pottermore Shop is due to open in October. Our aim is to offer the e-books in an as many formats as possible. We’ll provide more information closer to the time.

So.... are they finding it's not as easy as they originally thought??? Were they overly ambitious? Naive? Running into problems now?

Or maybe they will still pull out the magical "one format to end them all."

eP
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Old 07-22-2011, 12:27 PM   #7
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Interesting article. Can't wait to see what unfolds this fall.
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Old 07-22-2011, 12:28 PM   #8
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While I realize that this was discussed extensively in other threads I have not had the oportunity to weigh in on the matter in those threads so as I see it there is a profit vs compatibility issue here. If amazon supports epub they are opening themselves to competition from other electronic book stores, something no company would willingly do. While it is also true that savy costomers can simply translate from epub to the native format AZW with the aid of Calibre the average customer will not be savy enough to accomplish this on their own, hence the average customer is trapped in a prioprietary format. What will need to happen is something to get Amazon's attention and I fear that Rowling may not be enough.

This is my opinnion and it should be taken that way.
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Old 07-22-2011, 03:39 PM   #9
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Am I wrong, or do I remember JK Rowling's announcement said the ebooks would be available in as many LANGUAGES as possible. I understood that it would support as many devices as possible in as many languages. But perhaps her "language" was spoken languages, not ebook formats????




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Old 07-22-2011, 03:54 PM   #10
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I'm sure she meant spoken languages. The HP books are available in a huge range of languages including, for example, Welsh, Latin, and ancient Greek.
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Old 07-22-2011, 05:12 PM   #11
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The Amazon tablet will support epubs, it will also support cloud reading of Harry Potter. Unfortunately the tablets are not eink...
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Old 07-22-2011, 06:16 PM   #12
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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?
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Old 07-22-2011, 06:35 PM   #13
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It's perfectly possible for Amazon to offer a free conversion service for DRM-free ePubs: email it to your account, etc. This really doesn't impact their business model since it's still be far easier to buy books from Amazon with one click. Amazon's advantage is convenience, and supporting books from other stores doesn't affect that if you have to jump through hoops to get them on your Kindle.
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Old 07-22-2011, 10:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charmian View Post
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?
the technical limits of both formats have been already compared and discussed in other threads - some things done in epub are not possible/supported with mobi, so, yes it matters.
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Old 07-23-2011, 10:35 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by charmian View Post
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.)

Last edited by Daithi; 07-23-2011 at 10:39 AM.
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