Saturday, August 15, 2009
I was involved in a thread on Spark People about the Kindle and I thought people might be interested in this article in the New York Times:
New York Times
(Aug 15, 2009)
Paper books may be low-tech, but no one will tell you how and where you can read them.
For many people, the problem with electronic books is they come loaded with just those kinds of restrictions. Digital books bought today from Amazon.com, for example, can be read only on Amazon's Kindle device or its iPhone software.
Some restrictions on the use of e-books are likely to remain a fact of life.
But some publishers and consumer electronics makers are aiming to give e-book buyers more flexibility by rallying around a single technology standard for the books. That would also help them counter Amazon, which has taken an early lead in the nascent market -- a market that does not yet extend into Canada.
This week, Sony Electronics, which sells e-book devices under the Reader brand, announced that by the end of the year it will sell digital books only in the ePub format, an open standard created by a group including publishers such as Random House and HarperCollins.
Sony will also scrap its proprietary anticopying software in favour of technology from the software maker Adobe that restricts how often e-books can be shared or copied.
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's move comes amid mounting concern about Amazon's market power in the budding category of electronic books. E-book sales in the United States hit a record $14 million in June, a 136.2 per cent increase from a year earlier, the Association of American Publishers says.