Death of Mobipocket format? Alas, Amazon may follow our predictions
September 9, 2009 | 7:55 am
Now Amazon itself is feeding our fears—at least unwittingly—with the following notice on a signup page for eBookBase:
Effective September 2009, we will no longer open new accounts for publishers to sell titles through the Kindle Store or MobiPocket.com. If you have an existing account, there will be no change and you can continue to upload and sell titles using Ebookbase. New publishers with a US address and bank account can sign up to sell ebooks in the Kindle store via our self-service publishing channel at http://dtp.amazon.com
Months ago Chris was zeroing in on the refusal of Amazon to release a Mobipocket reader for the iPhone—the only legal way for U.S. owners to read DRMed Mobi titles in their existing collections. Here in the States, you can’t legally strip away DRM unless you qualify for a special exemption.
So what’s the big question if Mobipocket is dying? Well, what if you sank hundreds or even thousands of dollars into a collection of DRMed Mobi books, and now you can’t even read them on your new iPhone, iPod Touch or other machine? This is just one more reason to be wary of DRM—even if, in the future, someone comes out with a universal standard. DRM subordinates literature to commerce.
I can remember when people just couldn’t conceive of Mobi fading away. What does this say for the Kindle and its flagship DRM-tainted format?
One possible bright spot: Could Amazon aggressively promote nonDRMed Mobi as a Kindle format? Remember, the Kindle can already read Mobi without DRM. So you never never know. But right now, I wouldn’t bet on this despite Amazon’s DRM-free MP3 store.