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Sony Books Media

Sony To Convert Online Bookstore To Open Format 107

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-are-you-and-what-have-you-done-with-sony dept.
Dr_Barnowl writes "The BBC reports that Sony is to convert its online bookstore to the EPUB format. While this format still allows DRM, it's supported on a much wider variety of readers. Is this a challenge to the Kindle? It's nice to see Sony opening up to the idea of open standards. Even if you still have reservations about buying a Sony device, you might be able to patronize their bookstore sometime soon."
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Sony To Convert Online Bookstore To Open Format

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nhojovadle.> on Saturday August 15, 2009 @10:22AM (#29075833) Journal
    From a construction page [hxa.name] it looks to rely on XHTML, CSS and XML which, like both the open doc formats, makes complete sense. Not only is it trivial for me to build a document but with a very simple XSLT I can transform all of my epub files to very readable web pages. What boggles my mind is how long XML has been out there and yet we have to wait until now for big companies like Sony to adopt this over something like Amazon's AZW file format. The epub format looks simple and elegant and logical ... I'm honestly a little bit scared that I'm missing something since it's root kit Sony using it.
  • by Coopjust (872796) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @10:28AM (#29075857)
    Sony? The company that brought us Memory Sticks, UMDs, Betamaxes, Minidiscs, and hundreds of other propietary formats, using an open standard?

    *head explodes*

    Seriously, I'm glad that Sony is starting to open up a bit. In addition to the usual Memory Stick slot, Sony's new eBook readers come with Secure Digital slots too. Things like this are making me seriously consider buying a Sony for my first eBook reader.
  • Re:Layer DRM on top? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sakdoctor (1087155) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @10:41AM (#29075909) Homepage

    Googled openwashing and it only came up with 1,530 results, some of which where about open washing machines.

    Whether this concept has an official name or not, open has lost its meaning, and only specific formats, licences and specifications have the property of open-ness as people around here would have it.
    It's going to confuse the hell out of the public, now that consumers and companies have started to identify open-ness as a "DO WANT" attribute.

  • by Jurily (900488) <jurily@NETBSDgmail.com minus bsd> on Saturday August 15, 2009 @10:51AM (#29075957)

    After all, why sell a customer a working product when you can repeatedly sell them replacements for a defective product?

    Ah, the joys of capitalism. My 35 year old Soviet radio in the kitchen still works perfectly.

  • this is a good move (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @10:55AM (#29075977)
    This really is a great move on Sony's part. I've had a Sony Reader for a few months now, and I've really taken to the ePub format (especially compared to Sony's LRF/LRX format). First, the Adobe ADEPT DRM scheme has been cracked, so I can decrypt all the books I buy. And second, because the ePub format itself is relatively simple to understand, I can easily go through my books and reformat them the way that I prefer (use a certain body font, change the margins and paragraph indents, remove blank lines between paragraphs, etc). The problem was that there were only a handful of ebook sellers in the US that sell books in the ePub format. However, it's pretty prevalent in Europe and elsewhere in the world, so I've been buying my books from overseas (and some have even been cheaper than their domestic non-ePub counterparts thanks to the weak dollar). But being able to buy new books in ePub format straight from the Sony bookstore for $9.99 a pop is pretty enticing. I'm looking forward to the transition.
  • by AmiMoJo (196126) <.ten.3dlrow. .ta. .ojom.> on Saturday August 15, 2009 @11:28AM (#29076131) Homepage

    Sony do seem to be mellowing a bit, and I think that should be encouraged as much as possible.

    I was surprised to find that the Playstation 3 supports standard USB gamepads in all games. Anyone can make a compatible controller for the PS3 now, and in fact have done so myself. On the other hand, the XBOX 360 uses some kind of cryptographic authentication to make sure that no-one except Microsoft authorised third parties can make controllers (read: you have to pay them lots of money).

  • Re:Layer DRM on top? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rumith (983060) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @11:34AM (#29076179)
    We're talking about different things.

    DRM is by design and by law not user modifiable

    Exactly my point. However, we're speaking here of the difference "This is our DRM method and we're not telling anyone how we've done it" and "This is our DRM method but any other developer can use the algorithms and substitute their own encryption keys". A piece of content crippled by either scheme remains crippled for the consumer, but the second case allows for reimplementations of the same thing by companies other than Sony. Have I made my point clearer?
    And no, it is hard to consider OOXML "open" even by such a loose definition, because it isn't even possible to reimplement it due to poor documentation!

  • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @11:40AM (#29076211)
    You're right--the literary selection is fairly small. For instance, I can't get my Nabokov, Calvino, Borges, etc there (for now at least). But thankfully, I already have bookshelves full of their works. Going forward, though, many newly published books are being made available electronically, so I'm able to pick up a lot of what's been released in the past few years (though I'm still waiting for an ePub version of the new Pynchon that came out last week). And at the same time, the back catalogs are slowly expanding, too.

    It's true at the moment that ebook devices are primarily the realm of genre fiction (romance, scifi, endless cashcow series, etc). But as more people adopt e-reading devices, ebooks will eventually break out of those restraints. And I'm willing to help lead that charge.

    I got a pretty good deal on my reader, and since I've bought it, my bookreading has just about tripled. What used to be a book every week or two has now turned into a book every 3 or 4 days. I still prefer the typographic aesthetics of printed books, but I'm willing to make some sacrifices in order to satiate my desire to read. That's why I may seem pretty gung-ho about this whole ebook thing (and hence welcome this move by Sony). Purchasing my reader truly has changed my reading habits.
  • DRM? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @11:43AM (#29076227) Journal

    While the market is still burgeoning, content providers arenâ(TM)t going to back any e-book format that doesnâ(TM)t protect their copyright, so at least for now, digital rights management (DRM) is a fact of life.

    Okay then, move along, nothing to see here. Safari Books Online lets me download technical books in DRM-free PDF format. Feedbooks lets me download public domain and creative commons fiction in DRM-free PDF format (I've just finished reading Ventus [feedbooks.com], which I'd thoroughly recommend). Why on earth would I buy DRM'd eBooks?

  • by Ilgaz (86384) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @08:32PM (#29079783) Homepage

    If you ask audio and video professionals, there hasn't been a single proprietary, undocumented Sony device which doesn't tie to some mpeg standard ever.

    Betamax is proprietary? For God's sake, they invented VIDEO, it better be proprietary. VHS was the same deal too, it was just JVC was clever to license it to rivals and nothing else.

    BluRay is H264, AAC, VC1, Java, all open formats in 50 GB of space which movie industry desperately needs to race with pirates. Dolby/DTS audio codecs are "secrets everyone knows" BTW.

    Let me tell what actually happened. First, Sony has a new CEO. Second: Amazon was really stupid to play games with intellectuals who READS BOOKS and abuse their DRM. Sony guys also reads slashdot etc. and they have seen comments like "at least Sony e-reader exists", from NY Times respected authors to. So, they wanted to milk the situation in hand benefiting end users.

    Same goes for Amazon Mp3 store. If iTMS and the horrible myth that iTunes has own, secret codec didn't exist, Amazon would happily deal with MS and go with Wmedia DRM. Wanna bet?

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