Amazon to Allow ePub eBooks on the Kindle e-Reader
May
18

Amazon to Allow ePub eBooks on the Kindle e-Reader

By

amazon kindle

We have some rather breaking news with online giant Amazon and their highly successful line of Kindle e-readers. It seems many publishers have been told by the company that in the near-future, they should be submitting their books to Amazon in EPUB format and not exclusively MOBI. They also went on to let us know that Amazon was indeed planning something BIG and that soon the Kindle ereader will have the full capability to read ePub books. This news has been confirmed by at least 4 publishing companies we have spoken with during the last few days.

The Amazon Kindle, for the last six years and more, has exclusively sold books on its Amazon Bookstore in the Mobi format. They also devised applications for major platforms such as Android, iOS, PC, Blackberry, and Windows Phone 7 for reading their books. This insured that if you had purchased a Amazon Kindle e-reader or ebooks from their store,  you were locked into the Amazon ecosystem.

Four publishers in the last week have confirmed that Amazon has indeed told them they now have an option to submit eBooks to be listed in the Amazon store in ePub format. Two of the companies we spoke with are very big in the publishing world and spoke to us regarding this new development during an interview in the last few days on a totally different subject.  With many companies all telling us the same thing off the record it is confirmed that the Amazon is moving in this direction.

It would make sense that  Amazon will continue to distribute books still in MOBI format since they developed the technology and so much of its online infrastructure is based around it. MOBI/AZW is known to have similarities with the ePub data structure and has most of the code embedded into its format. The ePub format is more or less the industry standard for ebook formats and almost every other online ebook store aside from Amazon sells their books in that format. With Amazon embracing ePub technology it further substantiates that ePub is by far the most popular format to read ebooks.

Michael Kozlowski (4160 Posts)

Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about electronic readers and technology for the last four years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the Huffington Post, CNET and more. Michael frequently travels to international events such as IFA, Computex, CES, Book Expo and a myriad of others. If you have any questions about any of his articles, please send an email to michael@goodereader.com


  • Anne-Marie Concepcion

    Michael, please clarify if the publishers said that Amazon told them the Kindle will physically hold and show the EPUB file — it will now support EPUB standards in its readers — or if Amazon told the publishers that they can *submit* their digital book files for Kindle in EPUB format (which is not new … Amazon does an EPUB to MOBI conversion for publishers).

  • http://goodereader.com/blog/ Good E-Reader

     Our impression when we talked to them was that Amazon was planning something big for ePUB books. In the past when publishers distributed ebooks they would convert it to ePub, MOBI and a bunch of others for the different online and offline publishers. Amazon said that they wanted them to only do ePub from now on because of something big they were planning.

  • Kradath

    It’s also the question if epub books now will work on kindle or if amazon will even sell them themselves.

  • Anne-Marie Concepcion

    Thanks. So the publishers said Amazon told them to submit only in EPUB from now on? (Not “have an option to submit [...] in ePub format”?).

    And we’re still just talking about submittal formats, then, yes?  All else is unknown?

  • tyro

     If that’s true, it would be huge news. The ebook world feels still like the early days of the music wars when ATRAC/AAC/MP3 duked it out, DRM was rampant and all players & stores were incompatible. If Amazon is moving to support EPUB, we could be seeing the first shift to an open standard. Still a lot of battles to be fought but it’s exciting to watch.

  • http://goodereader.com/blog/ Good E-Reader

    It would make sense for Amazon to distribute books in the ePub format mainly due to the rise of Tablet Computers. Most ereading applications have the ability to read PDF and EPUB as their main formats and often Kindle is left to its own devices. If Amazon were to get in the business of physically selling ePub books alongside its own MOBI/AZW/PRC formats it could really dent Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Sony’s businesses. I really doubt with all of the investment Amazon has made into the development of DRM for MOBI/AZW that they would simply stop. I see ePub as working in synergy with the Kindle and giving non-kindle owners the options to buy ePub books chea

  • http://nards-barley.myopenid.com/ Nards-Barley

     If that is true, you indeed did break news. I guess you can call that a “face” to the other ebook bloggers out there.

  • http://nards-barley.myopenid.com/ Nards-Barley

     And I intend to mock those other bloggers for not breaking the news first.

  • http://goodereader.com/blog/ Good E-Reader

    Yeah I notice many different commonality factors between eBook formats and the music wars of the 90s and early 2000′s when there was no common format. It goes back further to VHS and Beta, BluRay and HDDVD, Mp3, AAC and tons of others. The e-Reader world really needs an open standard, one format to be compatible with everything. For me, I find that being locked to a specific ecosystem is being too limiting when it comes to digital media and the growth potential of it.

  • http://nards-barley.myopenid.com/ Nards-Barley

    And I also intend to mock those bloggers that predicted that the EPUB format was dead.  

  • http://goodereader.com/blog/ Good E-Reader

    One specific company when listing off formats they were distributing left off Amazon, when asked they said Amazon was coming out with Big news and they were no longer submitting books in Amazons own proprietary format and that they would only be using ePub because of changes to the Kindle and the store.

  • http://goodereader.com/blog/ Good E-Reader

     No need to get involved in any of that, people who write professionally work hard on their blogs and news. Although some of them do play the game where all they do is hate on their “competition”  We can’t endorse that kind of behavior though.

  • http://nards-barley.myopenid.com/ Nards-Barley

    That is very humble of  you. I am just going to needle them a bit, especially if they don’t credit you for breaking the news.

  • Anne-Marie Concepcion

    Thanks!

  • Mike Perry

     This might explain why Smashwords & Amazon have been delaying a distribution agreement. In the vaguest of terms, Smashwords said it because something big and new was happening at Amazon that it wanted to be a part of. I’d assumed that meant a new and improved .mobi format. Now it looks like Amazon may be joining the ePub generation, removing any need for Smashwords to create a special conversion engine just for .mobi. That would explain the delay.

    Amazon is big enough in ebooks that most publishers will produce a version just for them. But joining the emerging standard does make life less complicated for Amazon. Among other things, they were having to support a Kindle export plug-in for InDesign, one that’s apparently broken with ID 5.5. This will let them leave the ebook export headache to Adobe and others. It also means that publishers who create enhanced ePub versions for any distributor will be creating versions for Amazon. Amazon won’t be forced in a costly battle to match every feature of ePub with one in .mobi. 

    In short, this isn’t just Amazon conforming with the ‘mainstream,’ a move that can sometimes be a mistake. This is Amazon (we hope) doing something that’s both smart and beneficial to the ebook industry as a whole.

    Now all we need is for Amazon to confirm/deny these rumors and if confirm it be, give us the details and dates.

  • Nicol

    I wonder whether this means us Sony Reader owners will be able to buy books from Amazon that will work on the Reader (or Nook or others) 

  • http://twitter.com/pscho_yeg peter s

     This move to ePub would also support Amazon in allowing borrowing of eBooks from Public Libraries.   Public Libraries primarily license from Overdrive and primarily offer ePub as a format.

    Good news for libraries is good news for readers.

  • http://goodereader.com/blog/ Good E-Reader

     Yes, it seems that if Amazon does go pure ePub or allow ePubs to be sold side by side with its own format, it will allow people with other e-readers a chance to get some better deals with Amazoin, since the company is notorious for undercutting other stores.

  • http://www.cjs.au.com cjschris

    Adobe ePub?

  • Thomas Knip

    If Amazon is actually planning to use ePub as THE format for conversion I do hope they will improve their conversion tool. I heard horror stories from aggregators which handed over the ePub files of their publishing houses and are now asking me (and my service, I don’t mind) to create MOBI files from scratch.

  • Vintage

    ePub is an open standard used by just about everyone except Amazon (until now!).
    http://idpf.org/

  • Calynda

    Someone in the department for this stuff at Amazon let us know on another site a while ago that the kindle will be able to borrow books from overdrive libraries later this year and that the libraries won’t need to buy new versions of the books.

  • Jonahparsons

     We have been delivering ePub to Amazon ever since our partnership was initiated over a year ago.  Once you upload your files through the Import Cabinet, they are then converted through an automated system to Mobi.  Spoke with our Tech and Account Rep and they basically said beyond the current use of ePub files is rumor and Amazon has nothing in the works for the near future to present titles directly from ePub.

  • Jonahparsons

    Amazon has been taking ePub for years.  They simply convert the ePub, through their internal ingestion system, to the Mobi format.  Just spoke with our rep at Amazon and the direct use of ePub in Kindle instead of Mobi is a quickly spread RUMOR. 

  • http://elf.dreamwidth.org/ Elf

    Amazon might still lock people into its store, by developing a different type of DRM. It would allow Kindles to read non-DRM’d epubs from the growing number of indie ebook stores that offer them, without losing their lock on existing customers.

    If they do that, Kindles still won’t be able to read (ADE) library ebooks, and that news will get around quickly. I’d expect them to push the claim “We do ePub too!” without mentioning that it’s incompatible with other bookstores.

    I wonder if all the existing Kindles will get firmware updates, or if this is a sneaky way to push 1st-gen Kindlers–who are on the older Whispernet provider–to updgrade their devices, so Amazon doesn’t have to keep paying for two types of wireless service.

  • http://nards-barley.myopenid.com/ Nards-Barley

     Hey Michael, Your blog was dissed!!

    “is a pretty questionable blog,”

    http://www.pigsgourdsandwikis.com/2011/05/amazon-will-fully-support-epub-i-think.html

     

  • http://goodereader.com/blog/ Good E-Reader

    People have been asking why Don’t I mention the publishing companies by name who informed us of Amazons big plans in the near-future and the crux of this article? Mainly because it was “off the record” and If i disregarded their wishes chances are they would never speak to us again, which is not what we’re willing to do.  Also the companies themselves would be in a whirlwind of ramifications from Amazon.

  • http://nards-barley.myopenid.com/ Nards-Barley

    Oh man, this is fun!

  • http://nards-barley.myopenid.com/ Nards-Barley

    You guys must be the Rodney Dangerfield of ebook blogs!.

    “* It’s unclear if this is a reputable source for such gossip, so
    I’ve made the decision not to link to this site. If you’re interested, a
    quick look on your fave search engine will bring them up easy enough.”

    If you turn out to be right, I would hope a post would be forthcoming from your detractors acknowledging your contribution in breaking this news.

  • http://www.russthoughts.com Russ Savage

    “With Amazon embracing ePub technology it further substantiates that ePub is by far the most popular format to read ebooks.”

    Citation needed.

  • Joe Strazzere

    Any updates?  Anything more to substantiate this rumor?

  • http://www.mr-infinity.de A.

    Well, I think the Kindle is not bad, but you can’t compare it to the Sony PRS 650.
    It’s much better, what do u think?

  • Joe Strazzere

    And still just a rumor.  No outside substantiation?
    Too bad.

  • http://www.RamonaButler.com/ Ramona2252

    I favor being able to read any ebook on any ereader.

  • Juliaz

    Any update on this? I’m torn between waiting for kindle 4 and getting kobo touch now.

  • Actionwriter

    Michael;
    Great articles and always informative.
    I have asked this question in several boards and groups but never obtained a close answer.
    What area of the USA buys the most .ePub  stories? Any referenced city or State will suffice for an answer.
    Thanks in advance.
    W.Assison Gast
    actionwriter@addisongastbooks.com

  • Hienlly

    I took a look at a file known to be converted from EPUB to MOBI with calibre. The first two bytes were PK
    indicating that it was a ZIP file. I renamed it to .ZIP and opened it, and it had a bunch of HTML files inside that included Calibre in the file name. if you’re going through Amazon that’s fine. The MOBI file gets converted to Amazon’s format when you upload it. But if you’re distributing MOBI files outside Amazon (like if you’re giving away your book on your website), you’re safer converting with Kindlegen than with Calibre, it is Vibosoft mobi to ePub converter: http://www.vibosoft.com/ebook/convert-mobi-to-epub-mac-win.html

  • chandru

    Hi,
    I am chandru i’m well expertise in the Epub process. pdf to ePub, word to ePub, and all formats. now looking for a projects.