Friday, May 16, 2008

AAP Supports .ePub Standard

Last week (somewhat out of the blue) the AAP announced that on behalf of their members they were supporting the .ePub standard for electronic [book] texts. On the surface, this is a positive reflection of two industry groups working together in support of industry standards however, the commercial results of this letter of support will be minimal in the industry. Certainly, the largest US publishers who are the important members of AAP would need no encouragement to use the .ePub standard (and they are) if there were commercial advantage in doing so. The real background issue to this announcement is which typical of the company have spurned the standard approach and are not using the .ePub standard with the Kindle.

Adam Hodgkin at Exact Editions reports on the same announcement and captures the essence perfectly:

It is a mostly waffly and empty letter and will not carry weight in the tussle between Google (which should have minimal need for the EPUB format) and Amazon which is broadly on the books-are-a-file side of the fence and ought to be using EPUB for its Kindle, but is not. Whether digital books are citeable and searchable, page-fixed, digital resources; or electronic texts within a Kindle/Sony/Iliad reader will be clearer in a year or two. I doubt that it will be settled by October of this year.

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