image image Sony’s store in the States hasn’t switched over to ePub—the idea for now is to do BBeB for existing Sony Reader owners, including those who lack ePub capability. But over in the U.K., Waterstone’s will be opening its new e-store with ePub books aimed at the Sony e-readers it’ll start offering tomorrow. With or without DRM "protecting" these titles? Probably with it, alas. If so, that’s too bad since it severely limits the market. Here’s the Waterstone e-book area as it exists now.

Meanwhile Penguin UK’s Twitter-announced Tasters program, offering free samples from six books, is using ePub. Excerpts are from God’s Own Country by Ross Raisin, The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope, The Stories of English by David Crystal, King Dork by Frank Portman, King of Swords by Nick Stone and Things I Want My Daughter To Know by Elizabeth Noble. Penguin says it will have thousands of titles in the ePub format by the end of the year—readable on "your Sony eReader, your PC or Mac and other devices soon to launch."

Related: Times Online, National Post, Telegraph and Irish Sun on Waterstone’s and the Sony Reader.

(Thanks to Mike Cook and Mike Cane.)

Technorati Tags: ,,


  1. There is something I still don’t understand. Isn’t Adobe Digital Editions required to activate the ePub DRM? Yet according to Sony itself, only the eBook Library software will ship with Reader. Or can the Library software now do what ADE used to do?

  2. Hi, Mike. Some points:

    1. ePub is the core format. No DRM standard exists.

    2. Adobe-DRMed ePub books might as well be in a proprietary format. The DRM is proprietary.

    3. Luckily the Sony Reader can read DRMless ePub, which my own book will come in, among other formats.

    4. Library software can read Adobe-DRM books, last I recalled. But the display is lousy.

    5. It’s high time for the IDPF to release ePub logos for DRMless books so people know they can buy with confidence.

    6. Usual repeat of, “Down with DRM!”

    7. Social DRM, which would work on a variety of machines, is a possible compromise.


  3. Is there any ebook reader for PocketPC capable of reading epub? I keep wanting to try epub but I’m not able to find any epub reader for pocket pc. Maybe there is one that I don’t know about.

    If not… There may not be that many people out there still using a PPC for ebook reading but for the ones like me… this is a big show stopper for epub.

  4. My head hurts! There are too many variables. Just Make It Just Work!

    I don’t recall if the Penguin Tasters have DRM. I opened them first in ADE then imported 2 into Sony’s eLibrary software.

    1) Sony’s software correctly changed the color covers to nice grayscale.

    2) Page-turning in the Sony software was a hell of a lot faster than in ADE.

    Ach. We’ll know soon what sort of ePub Waterstones will offer.

  5. Claudiu: I don’t know of a ePub reader for PocketPC, but the Windows Desktop MobiPocket Reader will import DRM-free ePub (like the Penguin Tasters) and export them as MOBIs. MobiPocket’s conversion isn’t perfect, and some features are not supported at all (embedded fonts, SVG graphics), but this often works surprisingly well. It is currently tied to Windows XP, but when the Linux version of MobiPocket’s mobigen program comes out of alpha/beta testing it will be really easy for conversion to be done over the Internet.

  6. The Reader ships with Adobe Digital Editions on the CD and you are invited to authorise the Reader as well as the PC with online access.

    Also it turns out that Word is not supported directly. The file in the Reader is Rich Text Format and Word is required to make the transfer. I tried saving RTF from Open Office and that worked fine.

    So anything you can load into Open Office should be ok.

    ePUB would be even better. I am trying to study it but it seems a bit complex to create. Is there a simple “save as ePUB” button somewhere?

  7. Alan: Thanks a lot for mentioning MobiPocket Desktop, I tried it and it worked fine for one of the files. For the other one the conversion process seemed to work, but it ended without producing an ebook and without any errors. I’ll use this way until something better comes along for PPC.

    In any case, I see a lot of people reading on PDAs and SmartPhones. IMO, if epub wants to be successful, this market needs to be addressed, too.

  8. The Waterstones ebook site is now fully operational. However can someone please explain to me why the ebook version of The Private Patient by P.D. James is £2 more expensive for the ebook? This for something that cannot be lent, sold and required the sacrifice of no trees to produce or fuel to transport? When is someone going to have the guts to price these correctly?

  9. Alan: Again, thanks for your suggestion, BookWorm seems interesting and I’ll definitely follow its progress. However, at this time this is not an option for me, I can’t stay connected to Internet with my PPC to read ebooks.
    It says in the About page that “We’re working on ways to read your book content on your mobile phone even when you aren’t connected to the internet.” I’m going to have to wait until this is implemented.

  10. I read lots and lots of ebooks on my pda. I bought some of those ebooks from fictionwise and other sites too. But I always bought them in Secure Microsoft Reader. Why? Simple: I can use [program name deleted for legal reasons] to convert those files to html or any other format I want to.

    Ebooks that I am interested in but only available in a format that cannot be converted? I don’t buy them. I just wait till someone scanned them and download them for free. Not because I want to save money (I lose a lots more money playing cards than I spend buying books) but because I do it as a “FU” to the company who keeps imposing DRM on people like me.

    The idea of buying a book and be constrained to use such or such proprietary software to read it and not being able to save it to other formats is a total no-no for me. I may not be wrong in saying they lose more money with this protection scheme than they gain from it.

    So, just take away the freaking protection and I’ll buy any ebook I want to read instead of acquiring them illegally.

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail