back to article Sony embraces ePub for eBooks

Sony has announced it will be adopting the ePub standard as its only format for electronic books, along with DRM from Adobe, in its continuing battle against Amazon's Kindle platform. Sony runs a book store with protected content for its range of electronic-ink-based readers, and recently added half a million public-domain …

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Question

The devices will, apparently, continue to support the range of formats, but the store will only sell content in ePub format - so this is more about the Sony book store than the devices.

Bill.

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DRM = Fail

I've now bought loads of music tracks online -- but bought precisely none until DRM free tracks were available. I only started buying music online about a year ago.

I understand movies via iTunes remain an impossibility for me and now that books are ruled out for the foreseeable future.

I don't care that authors might feel aggrieved if I bought and paid for a book and they couldn't take it back, DRM is not a technology for me. Look at the issues with WMA downloads and Walmart wanting to pull the plug on the servers when it was no longer viable to keep them running. I'm sure that once the world moves to HD they'll want to pull the plug on the standard def servers and will "encourage" me to re-buy all my content. And the same will go with books once the next great technology (which improves the "end user experience") comes along.

Bollocks to that.

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Alert

Question

(Or am I being thick here?)

>Sony has announced it will be adopting the ePub standard as its only format for electronic books,

The original descriptions I've read about the Reader indicate that it can let you view PDFs, DOCs, and various book formats. Does this mean that after Sony makes its move, the reader will no longer display those other formats to me?

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FAIL

DRMed books, no thanks.

DRM means I can't use it from Linux as Adobe haven't ported the DRM part of IIRC Flash to LInux.

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Sony

Sony will get flak no matter what it does. If Apple or Amazon pulled this off, people here will embrace it.

Other than that, this is great news.

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h 6
FAIL

WTF?

" book readers aren't going to pay to attend live readings,"

I went to see David Sedaris in April. And I paid for it.

WTF?

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FAIL

Why would anyone in their right mind

buy one of these when it comes loaded with DRM or in the case of Amazon, your books can be deleted remotely at a whim?

Fools and departing money come to mind

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Silver badge

Bah!

Paper books. Work anywhere without worrying about supply voltage for a recharger. No DRM forcing you to rip the thing up after five people have read it. High contrast display. Fast forward and backward searching. No spam. No viruses. No OS incompatibilities. Light. Resilient. Won't stop working if you drop it, so long as you don't drop it in your bath or the sea.

And if you meet the author, you can get his or her signature on the thing without voiding the warranty, possibly upping the resale value. Did I mention you can resell them without erasing the text since there's no EULA saying you don't own the book, just the paper it's written on?

And ten years down the road, no having to buy the book all over again when your player breaks and there's been a technology shift in the interrim.

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Unhappy

Prices

It isn't only DRM causing blockage to sales, its the cost of the books.

A book I am interested in reading: "The Darkest Part of the Woods" by Ramsey Campbell.

Sony price : $12.60

Amazon prices : Kindle $5.59, Paperback $6:99, used hardback $10.00

Kindle seems to do better at this than Sony, who appear to be basing their prices more on the hardback price rather than the paperback price. I know there are bargain books at bargain prices but these never seem to be the ones I want.

I could get a good used hardback copy for less than the Sony copy, and, like piracy, used books generate no income for the author.

Surely the logic is obvious in all this; a paper book has large production and distribution costs to be covered whilst an Ebook has none beyond the proofreading and formatting stage(I know, storage and bandwidth and server costs), so the final cost could easily be significantly cheaper than the paper version without any loss of income to the author.

DRM just adds more woe to the recipe.

I'm not writing this as a complete sceptic as I own, and love, a Sony Reader and have a pile of books waiting to be read on it which is almost as large as my paper pile. But I balked at the Campbell book and will probably just read it from the library which generates no income for anyone, author or publisher.

PS Does anyone know if the collected JG Ballard short stories in EBook is available anywhere???

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DRM just an excuse

I find people foaming at the mouth about DRM really odd. I understand it to a degree, but I think people are very silly if they at least think companies AREN'T going to go to lengths to protect their products and media. If you opt to go down the digital format route for something high value, like a book, you've got to accept people have an income and a product to protect. You might not give a shit about the author Gordon, but the book is their living.

I was very blasse about piracy in music and didn't really care if I paid for stuff or not unless it was my favourite bands, but a friend of mine opened my eyes. His best mate made his living from selling CD's of the two bands he writes for and plays in. Now, thanks to illegal file sharing, this guy has had to give up being a professional musician and take a day job again because he can't sell CD's. Despite working extremely hard at his music for many years. To me that stinks.

Walmart switching off servers stinks too and that is where DRM is used in an extortionate way because it forces consumer to re-buy or lose out, and is a totally relevant example to quote. But I feel it slightly out of context here. As pointed out this is about standardising formats to ensure Sony is competing on a level playing field in the ebook store market and their hardware product isn't disadvantaged in the eyes of the consumer by having a strange format. In effect this will serve to help standardise the digital book market very early on and encourage uptake. Do away with the AAC, MP3, WMA etc format type fk ups that music sales have gone through. Only to screw the customer when formats are made redundant and servers switched off. As you pointed out.

Sure DRM will likely restrict distribution of the ebook you have bought, but 1) You switch to digital formats you have to accept that with high value purchases the publisher will want to protect themselves as much as they can and for as long as they can, and 2) 'Digital' doesn't mean free. People have to realise that. You wouldn't buy a car from a dealership and then bitch and moan when they refused to lend your mates cars for free for as long as they wanted would you?!

Spouting DRM vociferously as a reason not to adopt ebook readers as a technology is an excuse in my opinion. An opinion equally as valid/ spurious as the next man's I might add.

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FAIL

Protect your work - sell it

"Electronic book piracy is already rampant, with all but the most successful authors unable to afford the constant monitoring that's needed to protect their work"

Probably the most successful author of the last decade or so would be J K Rowling. Probably the most pirated author today is J K Rowling - with or without whatever constant monitoring she may do. The reason is that none of her books are officially available for sale in any e format; despite this many eReaders are stuffed full of her novels without her benefiting financially at all.

And yet she need only contemplate the example of J R R Tolkien - who until recently vied with her for the title of "most pirated" for exactly the same reason. When Tolkien's estate finally released official versions in electronic form earlier this year they raced up the eCharts as the "pirates" fell over themselves to legitimise their collections.

Let me correct your sentence: "Electronic book piracy is already rampant, with all the most Luddite authors* unwilling to sell the official electronic versions needed to protect their work".

*Actually I am probably being unfair to authors here. I suspect it is the publishers who are Luddite not the authors although in J K Rowling's case strong rumours have been circulating that it is her own personal decision.

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This post has been deleted by its author

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E-Ink?

E-Ink sounds pretty cool but I bet it's nothing like I imagine lol. I thik reading from an LCD screen would be annoying. I personally prefer paper books and don't intend to buy an e-reader.

The cheapest one is the borders one which is about £180, which is a fair price, but will obviously be an LCD version.

I wouldn't enjoy reading a book on my computer screen so I really don't think i'd enjoy reading a book on an e-reader with a much smaller display.

Once they come down in price, or if somebody who I know buys one, maybe I will be converted, but for £400+ for the ones which are aparently decent I will have to pass (for now)

The fact most older books (which are some of the best) can be picked up used for a few quid (Example Hardback version of Abarat by Clive Barker for £1.99 used). You really save a lot. I only read one book at a time personally (when reading for pleasure) so being able to Carry 100 books isn't really useful.

But the nay-sayers should consider the amount of shelf space you could save. To me that would be the biggest advantage. I'm personally a fan of digital content, when I know it should be available to me for a looooong time. (Example Half-Life 2, Counterstrike: Source etc on STEAM aren't going anywhere anytime soon)

If there we DRM free downloadable movies, or somewhere in the UK you could rent a movie by downloading it and watching on the TV via HDMI I would pay for that. You would obviously need some form of DRM for rentals.

Kinda went off the point a little, but think I made some okay points lol.

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Linux

@mfraz

The Flash player on Linux has all the features of the Mac and Windows players, including support for DRM in streams or downloaded content.

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When

The sony 505 hits the £100 mark I will jump in. With this device, unlike the kindle, you can load it with DRM free formats. Waterstones were advertising it for £150, so the prices are creeping down. Maybe next Xmas.

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Book DRM is counterproductive

There are a number of brave publishers out there who have been in the vanguard of ebook publishing, have published ebooks for years and don't use DRM.

Guess what they found? "Piracy" is a free marketing tool.

One publisher (Baen) even offers free ebooks from their authors, and every time they release a free ebook, sales for that author increase!

Why is this?

It's simple really, in the book trade author recognition is all. Shops will order books by authors they know in preference to ones that they don't.

So the only chance an author has of becoming known is to have copies of their work out there and gaining brand recognition. Someone can easily pick up a free copy of one of their books, then go out and order the rest of the series.

So those publishers that practise DRM are stiffing their own authors.

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