AAP’s recent open letter strongly supporting the use of ePub by publishers was covered by David Rothman in a separate blog article.
Reading the letter, it was unclear to me whether AAP supported ePub as a consumer format. The letter focused mostly on using ePub as an intermediary format to be converted by wholesalers and retailers into various proprietary end-user formats currently in vogue.
The letter did imply support of ePub as a consumer format, by the use of the word “IF” in the second paragraph, but it was not explicit and some might have interpreted the letter differently. If so, they should read the clarification by Ed McCoyd, the Director of Digital Policy at AAP, who signed the AAP open letter. With his permission I am quoting part of his reply to the letter I wrote him:
“Yes, while the letter discusses the conversion to proprietary formats by retailers and wholesalers, the subcommittee also sees EPUB as a distribution format to consumers as a completely acceptable option as well. As you point out, this other approach is implied where the letter says ‘IF a proprietary e-book format is needed’ (CAPS added).”
I thank Ed for this clarification, and am pleased that AAP supports ePub as the single reflowable format for all consumer uses, both natively and for conversion into proprietary formats.
As ePub support continues to expand (including new and better reading systems), we’ll see more pressure for the open standard, high-fidelity ePub to become the reflowable consumer e-book format, and the phasing out of proprietary, dead-end formats that benefit neither publishers nor consumers.