Before I get into asking the question posed in the post title, I guess I should step back and tell you a bit about the ePub format. According to Wikipedia, ePub is a free and open e-book standard, by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). OK, so that definition probably still doesn’t really clear it up for anyone. Let me tell you where you can read them and that might make it more clear. On your computer, you can use the free Adobe Digital Editions. If you don’t have a laptop to lug, you can read on a Sony Reader, a COOL-ER Reader, a Bookeen Cybook Opus, an iPod and an iPhone. And has become so famous in product introductions, there is one more device–the iPad.
The publications we create all include full color and heavy use of graphics. Because of this, I’ve never considered making anything for Amazon’s Kindle (or Kindle DX) since they only support 16 shades of gray. The Sony Reader, COOL-ER Reader and Bookeen Cybook Opus are also grayscale devices and thus not of interest for our publications. Not to mention their sales have been pretty limited. Adobe Digital Editions is nice, but all of our publications are now readable in Adobe Reader which is installed on most all computers. The iPod and iPhone have screens too small to be useful for reading our publications. So really this all boils down to one relevant device at this time, the iPad.
I’ll talk more about the iPad in a future post when I’ve had the chance to learn more about it. In short, Apple is hoping that it will bridge the gap between a smartphone and a laptop. As someone who carries a laptop quite often, the smaller size definitely is appealing. Yet it can’t run my Windows software. One of the things it can do very well is read ePub files, or at least the launch makes it sound like a great ePub reader. Of course it can also be used to surf the Web, send/receive e-mail and run all sorts of other apps. As a consumer, I’ll at least consider getting one. But the real business decision for me is whether there are enough people desiring ebooks in ePub format to consider making some/all of our publications available in that format.
That leads back to the question I posed in the post title. Does ePub matter to you? Post a comment and give us all your thoughts. As a side note, I know some of you e-mail comments directly and I appreciate that. But when you post a comment here, everyone can participate in the discussion.