Sandler Techworks
Technology * Workflow * ROI
Call for E-book Standards
Categories: Business

In post calling for e-book standards, the author tries the same e-book on 3 different devices, gets different results. Favorite line: “I know very little about computer programming ….But I know a fair amount about being a customer, and I know it shouldn’t be this hard.” Excerpts below.

I want to know: Why can’t we standardize e-books to work the same on all devices? – Kathy Sandler

“Let’s take a few sample files. First, a hand-formatted, lovingly edited beautiful epub file from Mobile Read. On the Kindle, it converts very well to mobipocket. No issues. But on the Kobo: loads fine, complete with table of contents and beautiful cover art. But the font is teeny tiny and all attempts to zoom are in vain.

I email the creator of the file. He can think of no reason why it shouldn’t work normally. There is no code in it that specifies a font size and no DRM or other restrictions….My contact at Kobo tells me this is an Adobe issue and they are hoping to address it with some firmware tinkering, preferably before the device hits retail.

As for the Libre, everything looks fine—except that the Libre uses a different font for epub than for other formats, it is a less attractive font, and for some reason the page-turning buttons on the right side of the device don’t work when reading epub files….

A reader needs to know that the file they buy today will still be readable tomorrow.”

She also talks about pricing standardization. While that’s unrealistic from a free market point of view, she cites a crazy example with the same book from the same outlet over several days: “It started at $11.99. A day later, it was $10.99. Then up to 12-something. Then down to $9.99 when viewed from my save list and $15+ when viewed from the general search results.

Finally, I tried to buy it (at $9.99, off my save list) and was told that the book was now geographically restricted and I couldn’t buy it at ANY price. To paraphrase Dr. Phil: What the heck are you thinking?”

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