Can we hope for an Amazon and ePub union?

EPUB formatted books as an industry wide standard is what I, and many others want. But can we achieve this without Amazon’s adoption — at least with ePub support on their Kindle eBook reader.

It will certainly be a lot easier to have a standard eBook format if Amazon joined the ePub party. I’m reluctant to say it but all current indications show that Amazon will not adopt the ePub format in the near future – but perhaps there is hope.

Recently we have seen a flurry of publishers and eBook projects (including yours truly) adopting the ePub format and a number of these are pushing their titles onto the iPhone/iPod Touch platform via the Stanza eBook reader. Feedbooks, Project Gutenberg are the two big projects but we now have Pan Macmillan offering commercial Tasters and in the last few days BookGlutton announced that they have joined forces with Stanza. Interesting times ahead for sure.

With all this recent iPhone/eBook activity I am asking myself, where is Amazon? The Kindle is certainly making waves with big sale numbers but this is probably nothing compared to iPhone sales. This makes me wonder if Amazon will start making their titles available on this platform and if so, what format will they use. If they use their own eBook format (AZW), they would need to release a dedicated ‘Amazon eBook Reader’ — how many different iPhone reader applications will people accept?

Everyone around here knows that having one standard eBook format will better serve everyone. If Amazon opens their Kindle to the ePub format and strikes a deal with a company such as Lexcycle (Stanza) they could kill two birds with one stone. Hmm, perhaps an Amazon/Stranza union is a little too much wishful thinking.

Providing direct purchase and download would make Amazon a serious option for any iPhone or iPod Touch user, and vise versa.

So, can Amazon leverage the iPhone to further dominate the eBook market and can they continue to resist the ePub eBook format?

Disclaimer: The Amazon/ePub logo I created is intended just for fun.

BookGlutton’s EPUB Converter unveiled

Earlier this month BookGlutton announced their ePub API. This neat little tool gives everyone an easy way to convert HTML files to the IDPF’s ePub format.

At present the API is in public beta and currently only converts ‘simple’ HTML files, it also lacks both image and CSS support. Still, don’t let this put you off, the potential here is great and is certainly another step in the right direction. As time goes by the API will certainly get better.

To show the kind of acceptence ePub is gaining this tool also caught the attention Keith Fahrlgren over at the O’Reilly Tools of Change Blog who certainly seems encouraged by this and feels that it is “the first step in lowering the barrier to entry to creating EPUB documents.”

Many other people around the net have shown a strong interest in the API, with most believing this is a first step in encouraging developers to create more ePub tools.

If you wish to try it out yourself go visit the BookGlutton ePup API page, there’s also some instructions there to help get you started.