Amazon and Apple fence off their e-book markets

Researchers from Mainz University hand over their recommendation of the EPUB3 standard to Neelie Kroes, EU Commissioner for the Digital Agenda


There are no technical or functional reasons for Amazon and Apple to fence off their e-book worlds using proprietary e-book formats. This is the result of a research study conducted by Professor Dr. Christoph Bläsi and Professor Dr. Franz Rothlauf of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and handed over today to Neelie Kroes, EU Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, in Brussels. The researchers emphasize the fact that the format standard proposal EPUB3 supports all features needed for multimedia and interactive e-books. Amazon and Apple, however, use other formats that are incompatible with that of most independent retailers and are thus limiting users to the products of their respective e-book stores.

In their study, commissioned by the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF), Professor Dr. Christoph Bläsi of the JGU Institute of Book Studies and Professor Dr. Franz Rothlauf of the Gutenberg School of Management and Economics also discuss the fact that the industry-wide use of the EPUB3 standard alone would not guarantee the complete interoperability of e-books for consumers. The digital rights management measures of the different publishing worlds would have to be synchronized. The study holds that this would be feasible, given the corresponding will of the parties concerned.

The 48-page study on the current interoperability of e-book formats has today been handed over to Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the EU Commission for the Digital Agenda. It is to contribute to the creation of a barrier-free market for e-books.