madfilkentist: Scribe, from Wikimedia Commons (writing)
madfilkentist ([personal profile] madfilkentist) wrote in [community profile] ebooks2017-07-27 08:35 am

Ebook formats

I've posted an article on the tangle of Amazon ebook formats to my Mad File Format Science blog. Corrections or other comments are welcome either there or here.
yourlibrarian: LibraryGeek-eyesthatslay (BUF-LibraryGeek-eyesthatslay)

[personal profile] yourlibrarian 2017-07-27 03:25 pm (UTC)(link)
Reading that makes me even happier that I never went the Kindle route so that I don't have to use MOBI. It seems they're taking pains to keep it as proprietary as possible. I am curious if all the Kindles are backwards compatible to the original MOBI files they offered though? Because I could certainly see it used as a reason to keep upgrading Kindles even though, in my personal experience, eBook readers can last quite a long time despite regular use (much more so than phones or computers).

I'm still really sad that Sony stopped producing eReaders as after trying out several different kinds, the one I have, a PRS-T2, has been perfect. It's been the most stable, the lightest and most user friendly of the models so far. I dread the day it gives up the ghost.
elf: Quote: She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain (Fond of Books)

[personal profile] elf 2017-07-27 09:17 pm (UTC)(link)
All Kindles currently still read mobi files, and that's likely to continue. European ereaders tend to read non-DRM'd mobi and epub; the code to read mobi is trivial to include.

Mobi has always been a proprietary format; Amazon bought it from the original owners, and updated it for their Kindles, about a year after they killed their earlier DRM'd PDF ebooks, which involved a type of DRM no longer in use.

Amazon's other formats include Topaz (which is what they used for their OCR'd ebooks), which is one of the alternate AZW extensions; I forget which one. And I think they have an epub format that uses Amazon's DRM.

Nobody's going to start widespread use of epub3 anytime soon - hardware manufacturers are no longer being innovative with ereaders, and the market's too fractured to make new ebooks that aren't compatible with older devices. The trend is to shift to tablets and apps instead of dedicated ereaders, and as publishers are discovering, the number of people who want to read books on a steady basis is fairly small. There's no market for a bells-and-whistles ebook format that doesn't work for the hardcore ebook buyers.

Epub3 allows formatting options that standard epub doesn't - if the reader has a way to display them. That's a matter of the right software, or sometimes the right firmware; not all readers are going to be compatible. (All epub readers should be able to display them, but they may lose their fancy features, which may mean scrambling the display badly in some cases.)

I miss my Sony PRS-505. I really, really miss my Pocket EZ-Reader by Aztak, which read all the standard non-DRMd formats and had buttons instead of a touchscreen. It had a 5" screen, which I very much prefer, and nobody is making them anymore.
yourlibrarian: Toddler Moana has a flower in her hair (OTH-MoanaFlower-dolewhip.png)

[personal profile] yourlibrarian 2017-07-27 09:58 pm (UTC)(link)
Yes, those buttons are essential! I'm currently using an earlier Kobo (can't recall the version) but it only has a home button and I hate the way that swiping is so difficult. In order to delete an item from the Kobo I often end up opening the file 3 or 4 times before the swipe actually opens the file menu. By comparison, the Sony does deletion from a pop up menu and uses checkmarks so I can delete multiple files at once.

I have also occasionally had the screen stall but the buttons allow me to go back in and out or to forward or return.

It's too bad that the market for eReaders alone is so small. Reading on a tablet or phone is not the same since we have eInk for readers that can be seen in strong light and are far easier on the eyes -- an important consideration given I'm in front of a screen most hours of the day. It's also far lighter than a tablet and even lighter than my smaller phone.