December 11th, 2010

tree in snow

What I want for Christmas from

Yes, this is yet another ebook post. Well, really what it is is a gripe session. I have bought three Kindles from Amazon (OK, technically two were gifts from my husband, but the principle is the same). I love my Kindle. As a reader, I love that I can have a library in my purse, buy books almost anywhere, get free samples before I buy, and often get free books. As a writer, I love that I can send my manuscripts to my Kindle, annotate them, and have it read them aloud to me.

What I don't love is that Amazon still doesn't support ePub on the Kindle. According to Jeff Bezos, they based their proprietary AZW format on Mobi-pocket (a format they own) so that they could accelerate development of the features they wanted. Fine. But Amazon offers email conversion of documents— that's how I can send Word documents to it— but not ePub documents!

Now, I know that Amazon can convert ePub, because some publishers send them ePub files to convert for sale in the Kindle store. I also know a little something about document conversion because I work for a legal publisher. There is no way that a document tagged according to a set of rules (e.g., ePub) can be harder to convert reliably than a word processing document that has no structure imposed on it at all!

All corporations are really the same. Whatever else they make, they want to make money. Maybe Jeff Bezos thinks if ePub is supported on the Kindle, even through an email conversion, that he'll sell fewer books. That might be true in the short term, but I don't think it would be in the long term. The more attractive Amazon can make the Kindle, the better shot it has of staying viable in an extremely competitive market. And right now a big weakness of the Kindle is a lack of support for ePub books.

So put on your Santa suit Jeff, and get those Amazon elves busy on making ePub possible for Kindle, one way or another.

free hit counter