You can’t read ebooks from your library on a Kindle:
This simple statement may well conceal a growing problem for Amazon in relation to the future sales of their Kindle ereaders.
Whilst the Kindle ereader is currently the world’s best selling ereader, is a superb piece of equipment, well made, easy to use (seriously easy to use), reasonably priced and generally a device that one would recommend without any hesitation to anyone wanting a good, dedicated ereader, it does suffer from a problem that the people at Amazon had never considered when they decided to use their own propriety ebook format with the Kindle, and this is the exponential growth of public libraries all over the developed world, who now offer their members ebooks as well as paper books.
But the wrong ebook format…..
The problem being, the format that libraries all over the world use for the ebooks they offer is the effective industry standard, ePub. And Kindle ereaders can’t work with ePub formatted ebooks. Thus Kindle owners are excluded from this source of ebooks to read.
Which is obviously a sad situation, and one that I imagine Amazon is concerned to address before to long.
Computer literate folk…. not a problem, but the rest of us?
I know that those of you out there who are handy with computers, will use a program such as Calibre to change the library ebooks to the Amazon format, and are also perfectly capable of stripping the DRM protection as well, and can thus merrily read these library ebooks on their Kindles, but I know from the many emails and comments that I get through this blog, the great majority of ereader owners are in fact not particularly interested in computers, and don’t want the extra hassle of converting ebook formats and so on, but simply want to download the ebooks they want to read, get them onto their ereaders and enjoy reading them.
This must surely mean that as the spread of libraries offering ebooks grows – which it assuredly will do – people contemplating purchasing a new ereader will think twice before deciding to buy a Kindle, and will very likely choose a Sony, a Nook or any one of the hundreds of other makes out there that do support ePub. Which is obviously bad news for Amazon.
Once upon a time it made sense.
Way back in the dark primaeval days of ereaders, when Amazon and Sony were to all intents and purposes the only players in the field, it made pretty good sense for Amazon to use an exclusive ebook format – it assured after all that people would buy their ebooks from Amazon, and not from any other source which was obviously the point. The Amazon format is not in any real respect better than ePub as far as I know.
But this is no longer an advantage it seems to me.
So, what happens next?
I am curious to see if in future versions of the Kindle, Amazon will broaden the range of ebook formats it can handle, or even go as far as to drop their own ebook format and simply go with the rest of the world and accept ePub as the format of choice for ebooks.
I am reasonably sure that if they stick to their guns, and refuse to make the Kindle work with ePub, their sales will surely suffer from this one unexpected development – the ebook lending libraries.
Of course, the other possibility (there are always other possibilities after all) is that libraries will change and start to stock their ebooks in the Amazon format as well as ePub. For Amazon, this would obviously be the best outcome, and one I am sure they are beavering away in the back rooms trying to bring about.
In any event, I hope that a sensible solution is found, since the Kindle is one of the best ereaders out there, and I can understand that people would like to buy it… But if that choice closes a wonderful source of ebooks, then I can only see sales dropping in time, as other brands of ereader who do support ePub take the lead.
We shall see……………………..
Share with us:
What do you think about this? Should Amazon give in and accept ePub? Or should Libraries add the Kindle format to their ebooks? Do let us know your thoughts on this.