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Sony Books Media

Sony To Convert Online Bookstore To Open Format 107

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 Ardaen ( 1099611 ) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @10:32AM (#29075871)

    Sony is such a large company, the left hand probably has no clue what the right hand is doing. Give it time, I'm sure eventually the evil root kit department will catch on. The format supports some DRM, I'm sure using that and creative interpretations of the standards they can break interoperability.

    After all, why sell a customer a working product when you can repeatedly sell them replacements for a defective product? I say this as I remember how Sony portable music players went from high quality near-indestructible products to DRM ridden a few years ago.

  • by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @10:47AM (#29075931)
    That was actually one of the goals for the format--all you need to make an ePub is a text editor and a zip utility. However, the zip file must be assembled a certain way (a mimetype file must be the first file and zipped with no compression so the rest of the file starts at a certain byte offset). I've been fiddling around with the format for a few months and it's really quite nice and fairly robust (as far as ebook formatting goes).
  • Re:Layer DRM on top? (Score:2, Informative)

    by rumith ( 983060 ) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @10:49AM (#29075941)
    I think it can be considered open/documented for other companies to use in their own devices, not open for users to access any content in this format whenever their heart desires. As evil as DRM is, consider this analogy: openssl doesn't magically allow everyone into your system, but it doesn't make it less deserving to be called "open".
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @11:09AM (#29076045) Journal
    It should be noted, a good many 35 year old(and rather older []) capitalist radios are still humming along.

    What you are experiencing is the joy of (relatively simple) standards.
  • ebook devices (Score:4, Informative)

    by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @11:23AM (#29076103)
    One more thing to mention about this. Since Sony will be opening up the bookstore to any ebook reader that supports Adobe-encrypted ePubs, there's a page that lists the devices [] that use this particular DRM scheme. (The Bookeen Cybook Opus is apparently a very nice little device.) Ideally the DRM scheme will eventually be abandoned (much like it was for iTunes) and any non-DRM-supporting ePub reader will be supported. But for the time being, there's a fairly decent selection of devices that will be able to be used with the Sony store once the transition is completed.
  • by Robotech_Master ( 14247 ) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @12:37PM (#29076535) Homepage Journal

    As the Wall Street Journal points out [], they're going to be layering Adobe's proprietary DRM on top of the ePub. So even if ePub is itself an open format, it's going to be contaminated by Adobe DRM. (There's still no way to read Adobe DRM'd books on the iPhone/iPod Touch, by the way, unless you crack them.)

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