The Selfishness of Kindle

September 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm (eBooks, ereaders, Kindle, Libraries, OverDrive, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I need to discuss the fact that the Kindle is the most selfish eReader on the market!  In a recent blog on The Digital Reader by Nate Hoffelder titled, Amazon Won’t be Adopting Epub, it was announced that the Kindle will not work with the popular and universal ebook standard format, the ePub.  Instead, and yet once again, Amazon has decided to create its own format, the Kindle print replica, or KPF.  According the blog post,

” KPR is a fixed layout ebook format like PDF and it even uses a similar tool bar”.

With the creation of a new format, I was always under the impression that new technology is supposed to propel us forward.  The ePub is a fantastic format because of its reflowable-text.  The KPR is basically a PDF. It’s a stagnant file; a mere picture of a page.  So instead of offering the masses a format that adjusts to any screen on any device, Amazon has decided to offer something archaic with scrollbars?   The thought process behind this new format really just does not make sense to me at all.

This really blows my mind.  Back in  April when I spoke directly with OverDrive I was left with the impression that Amazon’s Kindle will be working with the formats we, as public libraries, have already purchased.  I do not blame OverDrive in the marketing ploys of Amazon; they are merely a service that is trying to deal with the plethora of publishers and devices and trying to find commonality in delivering e-content across the board. OverDrive is a company that is trying to give libraries access to e-content as best as possible in a time when so many companies and publishers are in an e-content battle.  (I also believe it will be quite a while before the war on e-conent finalizes into anything that remotely illustrates a resolution).

With that said, while we, librarians and patrons alike, are struggling to to keep on top of this ongoing battle, Amazon suddenly insists on bringing for yet another format to the market when the ePub is the industry standard according to the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF).  This just makes me so frustrated.  It leaves librarians with the likelihood that when the Kindle finally begins to work with OverDrive,  we will now be forced to once again compromise our budgets because will have to purchase another format that duplicates what we already offer in our collections for one particular device. (Kindle should look at the demise of the Mobipocket).  There is also a possibility that patrons will be also enraged that they will have to download a separate set of software in order to sideload ebooks to their Kindle from either a desktop or laptop, with regards to obtaining free ebooks through OverDrive.  The frustration just continues to grow . . .

The redeeming quality that the Kindle currently maintains is the fact that their rumored tablet seems to be ready for release very soon.  It will run on Androind-based technology, (bonus), with full color and a touchscreen.  As of right now, it’s simply being called the Amazon Kindle, which, well, is not the most sexiest marketing term, but at least allows its audience to know that Amazon is still the propeller of the Kindle.  With its cost and size, it looks like the Kindle tablet will be going after its biggest competition as of yet, the Barnes and Noble Nook Color.  The ereader war continues.  To read more about what Amazon is planning check out, “Amazon’s Kindle Tablet is Very Real. I’ve Seen It, Played With It,” by MG Siegler on TechCrunch.

In the end, I hope that the birth of the KPF ultimately teaches Amazon a lesson that they cannot dominate the market with a single format, let alone with their Kindle, especially when so many other devices, such as Sony eReaders, B&N’s Nooks, Apple’s iPads or iPhones, Smartphones, Kobos, and just about any other device, including personal computers utilize, implement, and share the universal ePub.  I know only time will tell, but I am truly keeping my fingers cross that this will raise a riot with libraries, librarians, and OverDrive, and bring forth the  realization that the Kindle does not support libraries or the needs of its patrons.

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