Sony Converts eBook Store To Widely Adopted EPUB Format

Traditionally speaking, Sony has never been a company to follow publicly accepted norms. From Mini-Disc to ATRAC Memory Stick Pro to those UMD movies that nobody wanted for their PSP, the outfit has a long, storied history of forcing its own proprietary formats onto consumers. Of course, that same history includes the fact that most consumers simply don't want to cave to Sony's wishes, and formats such as MP3, Secure Digital and Compact Disc have absolutely garnered broader industry support.

We tell you all of that in order to explain just how shocked and pleasantly surprised we were to read the latest press release from Sony. By converting its entire online eBook store to the widely adopted EPUB format, it's hoping to "take the confusion out of digital book formats." The EPUB books will be able to be read on a host of other e-readers, meaning that content purchased through Sony's online store doesn't have to be viewed on a Sony Reader. A nice gesture for sure, and one that we're confident will actually pull in more sales for Sony in the long run.

Furthermore, the firm will adopt Adobe Content Server 4, a popular server software solution that copy protects eBooks and gives Sony the ability to "make its eBook store compatible with multiple devices and its Reader devices open to multiple sources for content." Steve Haber, president of Sony's Digital Reading Business Division, voiced his support for Sony opening up to the industry rather than sticking to its own path:

"Our intention is to lead by example. Our Readers have long supported industry-standard formats such as EPUB and PDF. Now, what is quickly becoming the de facto standard for eBooksDRMs creates silos and limits overall market growth. Consumers should not have to worry about which device works with which store. With a common format and common content protection solution (DRM), they will be able to shop around for the content they want regardless of where they get it or what device they use." will be available in our store. A world of proprietary formats and

The Reader Pocket Edition (priced at about $199), and the Reader Touch Edition (about $299) will both support the EPUB and PDF formats out of the box when they go on sale later this month, and Sony will also provide an update path for owners of the first edition Reader, model PRS-500, so early adopters of the Reader will be able to enjoy this benefit as well. We have to say, we like where you're going with this Sony. There's a good chance more folks would buy into your hardware if you supported files, formats and software that are accepted widely elsewhere.

Tags:  Sony, ebook, E-reader, reader, EPUB