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Old 06-09-2009, 11:57 AM   #1
donbrubaker
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What's happening to Mobi format?

I just got an email from Bebook (who's current reader natively supports Mobi-DRM) and here’s what they say about the DRM support for their 2 new models scheduled to be out Q3 2009, Bebook Mini and the Bebook 2:

Both Models only support Adobe DRM (ePub and PDF)

This is interesting in that there seems to be a shift from Mobi-DRM in the marketplace. I have a heavy investment in Mobi-DRMed books (several hundred) and was going to pick up a second reader. I currently own the Cybook Gen3. But I have noticed that the new Cybook that’s coming out and all of the new readers are moving to ePub. I can transition to ePub, but I don’t really want to buy ePub books because I don’t want to be stuck in that format… and when devices move on to the next format, my library will be history. Is this an issue for anyone else? Should I just pick up an original Bebook at the reduced price? Or should I go with one of the new readers and convert my mobi to ePub? Thoughts?
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Old 06-09-2009, 12:06 PM   #2
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It's because Mobi insist on "DRM exclusivity", so if a device support Mobi DRM it can't also support ADE. I believe, however, that most of the new devices will still read DRM-free Mobi files.
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Old 06-09-2009, 12:06 PM   #3
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Mobipocket are rumoured to have a long-standing policy of only licensing their Mobipocket software if it's the only DRM format on a dedicated reader. Up until now, this has served them well. But not any more. In Europe, ePUB is becoming the format of choice, as it's an open format, and more capable (in principle) than Mobipocket.

Amazon, who owns Mobipocket, don't seem to care about this, as otherwise I suspect they'd change their licensing terms.

I too have bought a lot of DRMed Mobipocket eBooks. But in my case they seem to have lost the DRM somehow. I'd prefer at the moment to keep to Mobipocket devices, as although the format is not as capable, the implementation is more mature than ePUB at the moment - user selectable justification, user selectable fonts, good font size range, dictionary lookup.

But I suspect that in five years time, I'll have ePUB based readers, and will have converted all my Mobipocket books.

Quote:
Originally Posted by donbrubaker View Post
I just got an email from Bebook (who's current reader natively supports Mobi-DRM) and here’s what they say about the DRM support for their 2 new models scheduled to be out Q3 2009, Bebook Mini and the Bebook 2:

Both Models only support Adobe DRM (ePub and PDF)

Is this an issue for anyone else? Should I just pick up an original Bebook at the reduced price? Or should I go with one of the new readers and convert my mobi to ePub? Thoughts?
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Old 06-09-2009, 12:09 PM   #4
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Amazon/Mobipocket insists on exclusivity. If you want Mobipocket DRM you can't have any other.

As for me, I'm sticking with Mobipocket indefinitely. It hjas the most features of all the reader software out there.
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Old 06-09-2009, 12:14 PM   #5
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As for me, I'm sticking with Mobipocket indefinitely. It hjas the most features of all the reader software out there.
I partially agree with you, Nate. Certainly Mobi has things like dictionary support, which other formats lack, and keyword search, and so on. Where it slightly falls down compared to, say, ePub, is in the area of actual document format. ePub is capable of more sophisticated layout than is Mobi.
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Old 06-09-2009, 12:22 PM   #6
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The MOBI format is still the most popular for US-rights ebooks, because you have to have a MOBI version to sell on the Kindle. However, Amazon seems to be deliberately killing the format. They refused to let MobiPocket release a iPhone version of their reader for example and they refuse to let EInk devices support both MobiPocket DRM and other DRM (e.g. Adobe or eReader).

I think there is a 50% chance that the Kindle in the UK will support ePub (Amazon has a mobile ADE licence for the Kindle after all), which would be the final nail in the coffin for the MOBI format in Europe.

The real answer, though, is don't buy into this DRM nonsense. DRM might or might not effect piracy, but it definitely means that you can't read your ebooks on all the devices (existing and future) that you may want to use. The only protection consumers have is to strip the DRM, and use the DRM-free version on their own devices however they want. There are real differences between formats, but Calibre has demonstrated that format shifting is by and large an effective defence against ebook obsolescence. It can format shift MOBI to ePub and ePub to MOBI.

As others have said, the MOBI reader software is still better on balance than Adobe's reader software. So the ePub format may be superior, but the MOBI reader is still a good choice. I use FBReader for both formats, and it is a viable alternative (with its own flaws) once you are DRM-free.
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Old 06-09-2009, 12:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallcraft View Post
The MOBI format is still the most popular for US-rights ebooks, because you have to have a MOBI version to sell on the Kindle. However, Amazon seems to be deliberately killing the format. They refused to let MobiPocket release a iPhone version of their reader for example and they refuse to let EInk devices support both MobiPocket DRM and other DRM (e.g. Adobe or eReader).
What about Kindle for the iPhone, isn't the azw format a mobi format?
Heck iPhone has the best MOBI solution access to the cheapest and most abundant source of MOBI books.


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I think there is a 50% chance that the Kindle in the UK will support ePub (Amazon has a mobile ADE licence for the Kindle after all), which would be the final nail in the coffin for the MOBI format in Europe.
Does it make sence yes, but will it happen I don't think so. Like you said if they do go with ePUB, its the final nail in the coffin.

When a company has control over a standard it gives them a competitive edge, but add the fact that they also get kick backs from the DRM scheme. I just don't see amazon giving up on this. They are going to fight tooth and nail to keep their dominance.


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As others have said, the MOBI reader software is still better on balance than Adobe's reader software. So the ePub format may be superior, but the MOBI reader is still a good choice. I use FBReader for both formats, and it is a viable alternative (with its own flaws) once you are DRM-free.
Really the superior format is PDF. The rest look all the same to me. You've even proved it with your study of the Hobbit, which is one of the better formatted eBooks out there.
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Old 06-09-2009, 12:57 PM   #8
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Thanks for the input! I think HarryT mentioned that some of the new readers will be supporting non-drm Mobi... do you know which ones?

If you were to purchase an ereader device that was either ePub DRM or Mobi DRM which would you buy?

Last edited by donbrubaker; 06-09-2009 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:00 PM   #9
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What about Kindle for the iPhone, isn't the azw format a mobi format?
Heck iPhone has the best MOBI solution access to the cheapest and most abundant source of MOBI books.
I agree that the Kindle app for the iPhone is Amazon's replacement for the MOBI app, but it does not read DRMed MOBI ebooks from anyone but Amazon. So Amazon is killing MOBI to replace it with AZW, which is the same thing except you must buy from Amazon. In fact, the Kindle iPhone app, as designed, does not even read DRM-free MOBI from your own collection because it provides no way to get these ebooks to the app.
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:01 PM   #10
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If you were to purchase an ereader device that was either ePub DRM or Mobi DRM which would you buy?
Personally, Mobi, because that's still by far the most popular format with the large US eBook stores - FictionWise, BooksOnBoard, etc.
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:04 PM   #11
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It's because Mobi insist on "DRM exclusivity", so if a device support Mobi DRM it can't also support ADE. I believe, however, that most of the new devices will still read DRM-free Mobi files.
Which has always struck me as one of the silliest and most useless policies ever. They don't even follow it themselves, since my PDA will read just about any kind of DRMed ebook file, including PRC/MOBI. Almost every ebook format has a WinCE reader. The only lack I note (though only en passant) is an ePub reader, and until everyone gets on board with a common file format (as opposed to renamed .zip) that's not much use anyway.

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Old 06-09-2009, 01:12 PM   #12
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Which has always struck me as one of the silliest and most useless policies ever. They don't even follow it themselves, since my PDA will read just about any kind of DRMed ebook file, including PRC/MOBI.
Yes, it seems the restriction only applies to "fixed" firmware, not to programs that can be installed over an underlying OS... I was hoping Bookeen could use this "loophole" somehow.
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:14 PM   #13
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I agree that the Kindle app for the iPhone is Amazon's replacement for the MOBI app, but it does not read DRMed MOBI ebooks from anyone but Amazon. So Amazon is killing MOBI to replace it with AZW, which is the same thing except you must buy from Amazon.
Okay I see your point your referring to the mobi brand over the actual format, yes I agree then they are killing the mobi brand.

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In fact, the Kindle iPhone app, as designed, does not even read DRM-free MOBI from your own collection because it provides no way to get these ebooks to the app.
Wow that's lame! No they have any plans in the future?

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Old 06-09-2009, 01:19 PM   #14
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Really the superior format is PDF. The rest look all the same to me. You've even proved it with your study of the Hobbit, which is one of the better formatted eBooks out there.
PDFs are good on large screens. It would be very interesting to compare the PDF and MOBI versions of The Hobbit (say) on a Kindle DX or a DR1000S. Note that to do so you would have to strip the DRM from the Adobe PDF.
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:59 PM   #15
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Personally, Mobi, because that's still by far the most popular format with the large US eBook stores - FictionWise, BooksOnBoard, etc.
It is is not illegal already to buy region restricted books from another region it will probably soon be so this might not be any big advantage.
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