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Old 01-13-2010, 09:32 PM   #1
Totenkopf
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Will Amazon eBooks Survive the Inevitable Format Wars?

Hi,

I use an iPhone, with Kindle Reader, to read my ebooks: I’ve heard that’s not a particularly popular method of reading ebooks, but it works fine for me (in part because I got sick and tired of carrying around numerous gadgets: I decided to consolidate, and I have been very happy with the iPhone as my consolidation solution). I’ve spent a few hundred dollars on Amazon ebooks, and have really enjoyed their portability. However, after the glut of new ereaders showcased at CES, I am second-guessing my commitment to Amazon. Don’t get me wrong, I am completely happy with Amazon as an on-line vendor, and I buy lots of different kinds of things from them, from shoes to blu-ray discs. However, I am concerned that Amazon won’t survive the competition and that, one day, I won’t be able to read the books that I buy from Amazon (VHS vs Beta, Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD, etc). I am not concerned about hardware: I have no intention of purchasing a Kindle or any other device that would mean more gadgets to lug around. I am concerned about format convergence, which I presume is inevitable, and the likelihood that some current ebook formats won’t make the cut, perhaps even a currently popular format like Amazons.

What are the odds that Amazon’s current format will be supported when the format wars are over? Are all formats basically in the same boat? (I mean formats that will allow me to purchase popular non-fiction books).

Thanks
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Old 01-13-2010, 09:37 PM   #2
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WIll Amazon's format survive? I don't know.

But I will bet money that even if the format doesn't survive, Amazon will still be selling ebooks and you will still be able to download the ones you bought before.
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Old 01-13-2010, 09:42 PM   #3
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Welcome to MobileRead, Totenkopf

If the worst happens, and Amazon "loses", or goes completely under..........you will still have access to your books.

IF (and thats a might big "IF" ) you had the foresight to strip the drm and back them up on your computer, sd card, carbonite, or whatever.
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Old 01-13-2010, 09:54 PM   #4
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Hi D-Grandma,

I don't know anything about DRM (other than that it has to do with maintaining proprietary rights, or copyrights, or preventing copying or something: ok so I don't even know that lol) but now I know what to research. Thanks very much for your reply, I'll look into that.
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:46 PM   #5
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I don't think its a question of will Amazon ebooks will survive, Amazon is a leader in retail of everything, so they will be around for a long time to come, but rather will their current policy of "locked down" ebooks survive as other readers and vendors of ebooks enter the market and gain acceptance like the Kindle and Amazon has.
To that I say they will survive but maybe not exactly as they are today because unlike the format wars you mention ebooks may not be as ubiquitous as VHS or even Blue-Ray. So as long as Amazon remains in the race with they will push for DRM and publishers like that, when the inevitable DRM backlash ensues they will make concessions but still be a leader in the field. See Apple with iTunes Plus DRM free tracks - that may be the future with Amazon ebooks. If you want your books to work on another device then pony up. But I don't think you have any reason to worry that what is currently available won't be supported in the future in some way.
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertgrandma View Post
Welcome to MobileRead, Totenkopf

If the worst happens, and Amazon "loses", or goes completely under..........you will still have access to your books.

IF (and thats a might big "IF" ) you had the foresight to strip the drm and back them up on your computer, sd card, carbonite, or whatever.
Amazon did sell eBooks before the Kindle. When Amazon gave up on eBooks, nobody had access to redownload them. Back then, only MS Reader format could be stripped of DRM. A lot of people lost a lot of eBooks due to DRM biting them. Mostly it was PDF that was the problem. So if Amazon gives up eBooks this times, I think the same thing will happen and they will just stop selling eBooks. But if Amazon switches formats, I think it'll be like what Sony did going to all ePub.
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:53 PM   #7
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I do think that as more and more readers enter the market supporting ePub, I think Amazon's AZW & Topaz formats will have to go and Amazon may be forced to go ePub.
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Old 01-13-2010, 11:38 PM   #8
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Uhm, I forget where it's stated, but basically, if a format becomes obsolete, then you have the right to strip the DRM to continue being able to use your purchases.
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Old 01-14-2010, 12:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf View Post
I don't know anything about DRM
If you have a Windows PC, the easiest way to get DRM-free copies of your Kindle ebooks is to use Kindle for PC and unswindle.pyw. The result will be DRM-free MOBI ebooks, which can be converted to whatever format you want using Calibre. Some Kindle ebooks are in the TOPAZ format, which is not yet easy to convert to other formats.
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:34 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertgrandma View Post
Welcome to MobileRead, Totenkopf

If the worst happens, and Amazon "loses", or goes completely under..........you will still have access to your books.

IF (and thats a might big "IF" ) you had the foresight to strip the drm and back them up on your computer, sd card, carbonite, or whatever.
I'm not terribly computer proficient and haven't tried drm removal yet. I do think it necessary to back up all my book purchases on my computer instead of relying on downloads from Amazon. in the event I need to I'll have all the files and tackle DRM removal then.

Will I need to? I doubt it, Amazon is the 'Walmart' of internet shopping. They'll be doing this for sometime to come. Will a 'Target' come along and push them? Yes, I hope so.

Last edited by drofgnal; 01-14-2010 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:52 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
Amazon did sell eBooks before the Kindle. When Amazon gave up on eBooks, nobody had access to redownload them.
A slight exageration; they gave people something like a year's notice, didn't they? Plenty of time to make sure that you had a downloaded copy of all your books, and stopping selling them didn't prevent you from reading the ones that you'd bought.
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