Sony, which we've blasted in the past for an insistence on proprietary formats, will support the open standard ePub format for its ebook readers. Open, of course, doesn't mean "free of DRM": This is really a jab at Amazon.
ePub, a format created by Random House and a network of other publishers, is designed to stop the kind of monopoly on ebooks that Apple enjoys over legal digital music sales. As one of the biggest names to officially jump into the ebook game, Sony throws a lot of weight behind ePub, which is currently supported by Plastic Logic as well. Of course, if Apple gets into the game, all bets are off, but if ePub can get a substantial share in the extremely young ebook market, it could mean a much more interesting future for ebook readers. [New York Times]
After the snafu with Amazon deleting copies of books off of people's Kindles without owner permission, the thought of any format that give users more security of their ownership and transportability from device to device is welcome indeed. What is needed is an MP3 equivalent for eBook formats. Something transportable and universal. Sony and 17 other eBooks are currently supporting ePub. While the current format puts a lot of power in the hands of Adobe, it seems to be much better protection for consumers than what Amazon currently offers.
Is Amazon's format in danger of becoming the new Betamax?