I’m not loyal to my electronic devices and brands. I’m happily leaving behind Apple to grab a different mobile phone. (This week I’m playing with a Blackberry Tour, but I still want to get my hands on a Pre.) And now, I’m considering leaving my Kindle behind to pick up a Sony eReader sometime this year. After all, I can sell the Kindle on eBay.
In the same way that Apple has irritated with iPhone/App Store quirks, Amazon is irritating me with Kindle quirks. In the last 6 months I’ve been rubbed the wrong way by several things:
- Inability to read formats other than DRM-free MOBI, DRM-free PDF, and AZW (Amazon). This keeps me from using the eBooks from my local library, all available in ePub and DRMed MOBI files.
- Amazon lowered the price of the Kindle 2 by $100. Yes, I paid $400 for the thing back in February. I should have waited a few months and saved some case.
- Amazon took back the George Orwell book. Now, I didn’t have it on my Kindle to begin with, but it does make me sort of shudder. Please don’t Big Brother my eBook Reader.
Today comes the news that Sony will be adopting the ePub format for their digital store. ePub is the open standard for eBooks and its a great sign that Sony is moving to the format. According to the New York Times,
After the change, books bought from Sony’s online store will be readable not just on its own device but on the growing constellation of other readers that support ePub. Those include the Plastic Logic eReader, a thin device that has been in development for nearly a decade and is expected to go on sale early next year.
“There is going to be a proliferation of different reading devices, with different features and capabilities and prices for a different set of consumer requirements,” said Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading unit. “If people are going to this e-book shopping mall, they are going to want to shop at all the stores, and not just be required to shop at one store.”
Sony is going out of its way to let other readers into its store. It smartly sees the value in selling the books and not just the device. Wait a minute. Haven’t we gone through this before with music players? It’s worth mentioning that Sony will be switching to the Adobe DRM. Just because these are ePub, does not mean that they will be DRM free. But they are available for other devices, which is key.
The ePub format will be compatible with all of Sony’s available eReaders, including the PRS-500 (1st generation), which my husband happens to own. See? No brand loyalty in this house.
Amazon needs to get in the game. They cannot play the Apple card in the eBook field and hope to survive. Not with so many low-cost readers heading to market within the next year, all of which support the open ePub standard.