LATE AT NIGHT, under a crescent moon, I talked to an old neighbour who just happened by the family home. Harlan is retired from Sony and he embraces openness as a community concept. As my print-savvy daughter tells me, Sony's eReader is smart for being open. In my case, Sony's open format lets me dump all my college textbooks into one small handheld device. With the open format ePub community, I have in excess of a million public doman books. Taking a cue from the ePub community and from the New York Public Library, I am revising essential and supplemental readings in six college courses I teach, ensuring all those materials can be sourced from the public domain. Then I'm going to hit the road and tell educators across the world how to do the same thing.
Irish educators--and smart Irish parents--should be lobbying the Department of Education and Science for a ubiquitous and open reading experience. The key to open school books is the ePub format, which is an open format for electronic books. As a result of embracing that format, the New York Public Library can now loan out digital editions of books in their collection for 21 days to people with Sony Readers. Furthermore, book chains like Barnes and Noble could start selling their own digital books without going through Sony’s digital bookstore as long as the books are in the ePub format.
With an open digital book format like ePub, anyone can sell or distribute electronic books. It doesn’t have to be Sony. I'm also looking at Textr.
The elephant in the bookstore (Amazon with its Kindle) does not support ePub. The Kindle needs to be unseated as the book reader of choice. It it isn't, Amazon will continue to wrap its DRM around literature like Apple has done to songs.