Saturday, September 08, 2007

Amazon and Mobipocket Get Hard (Hardware, that is)

Just as I find my first novel on Amazon, I am reminded why Amazon annoys me so much. It started with the great and largely unremarked upon 'vanishing' when all non-Mobi ebooks were removed from Amazon in many cases without advance warning. In fact when I asked several small publisher about their thoughts on this several assured me their ebooks were still available on Amazon (they were not).

This was clearly a first move to allow Amazon and their acquisition, Mobipocket, to try and capture the growing ebook market. After all, they make a double profit from Mobi and Mobi-formatted (for a fee) books. Now they are rubbing it in by releasing a new ebook reader that can read only Mobiformatted books.

"instead of using the open e-book standard backed by Adobe it will use proprietary "Mobipocket" software. This means that the e-books to be available as downloads on Amazon.com will only work on their reader."

IMHO this all makes about as much sense as a company trying to trademark and control paper. Except that it seems to be working. Amazon has a tight grip on me as both a producer and consumer--in terms of print books. But I hope the ebook market continues to elude their grasp. I truly think that if epublishing is to remain a haven for niche and small press books the first ebook reader to really take off needs to use interchangeable formats such as pdf.

Edited to add-- And Createspace, Amazon's answer to Lulu.com, only allows sales through Amazon and doesn't seem to include an ebook option at all?

4 comments:

Emily Veinglory said...

p.s. more on big companies becoming even bigger companies, Authorhouse and iUniverse have officially merged under the banner of Author Solutions.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me the easiest thing would be to browse on Amazon, then order what you want direct from the publishers' websites. You get the format you want, and Amazon gets the cornholing it seems to be begging for.

Dusk Peterson said...

You quoted the news article as saying:

"instead of using the open e-book
standard backed by Adobe it will use proprietary 'Mobipocket' software. This means that the e-books to be available as downloads on Amazon.com will only work on their reader."

Is she saying that the e-books will contains some sort of DRM that will make them only readable on this new reader? Because otherwise, this statement doesn't make any sense. Mobipocket is a cross-platform format, available in a number of e-book readers. Not as ideal as an open e-book standard, but Adobe is hardly the person to tout as a leader in such matters, since its Adobe Acrobat format is most assuredly a proprietary format.

As for CreateSpace, it doesn't have an e-book option for the simple reason that Amazon only sells Mobipocket e-books, so Mobipocket takes care of the job of arranging for Mobipocket-formatted e-books to be sold at Aamzon. Self-publishers can go through that process, incidentally.

Jennifer McK said...

*shakes head* It's bad enough that epublishing is going through growing pains, but when big companies start limiting customer choices.....
I don't buy ebooks from Amazon. I do buy print from them. If I want an ebook, I go to the publisher.
And now that I know better, I'll get most of my print books directly from the publisher as well.
I prefer Adobe, though that's just because I started with that form. Everything else is confusing to me.