Book industry mourns walled garden approach, calls for fewer proprietary formats

Publishers call for universal e-reader file format

E-readers have been the focus of much debate at this years BookExpo America, with many publishers using the event as a platform to call for universal file formats for the devices.

According to Wired, many publishers feel that the only issue preventing is a fear of piracy, but consider the establishment of a common DRM policy as a natural offshoot of the development of standardised format.

“Today you can buy a book at Barnes and Noble and you can buy a book at Walmart and you don’t have to keep them in separate rooms in your house,” said the CEO of e-book developer Kobo, Michael Serbinis. “You buy a book from Apple and Amazon and you have got to keep it tied up with your Apple universe or your Kindle universe.”

A number of publishers warned that literature would continue to be printed using traditional paper-and-ink methods unless e-reader manufacturers could agree on a unified file format.

“It’s always treated as if the publishers are the Luddites,” said the president of Penguin USA, Susan Petersen Kennedy. “The devices have not caught up with the content. Contrary to popular opinion, the book is actually so far more flexible.”

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