Sony to Switch to Open E-book Format

Adrian Versteegh

Sony announced the latest in its series of attempts to shake Amazon’s dominance of the e-book market today, saying it will scrap its proprietary e-book format in favor of the ePub standard. Unlike Amazon’s Kindle format, the ePub standard—developed by an industry group that includes HarperCollins and Random House—allows e-books to be accessed and shared across a broad variety of devices. Titles for sale in Sony’s online store will now be protected by antipiracy software from Adobe.

Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading division, said in a press release that the ePub format was “quickly becoming the de facto standard” for e-books. “There is going to be a proliferation of different reading devices, with different features and capabilities and prices for a different set of consumer requirements,” he told the New York Times. “If people are going to this e-book shopping mall, they are going to want to shop at all the stores, and not just be required to shop at one store.”

Sony expects the transition to ePub at its online store to be complete by the end of the year. While the company’s new line of Readers is already compatible with the format shift, Sony says it will release new software to bring older devices up to date.