With the addition of the Kids Corner children’s digital reading platform to its Reader Store, Sony will begin to support the EPUB3 spec, a step none of the major U.S. ebook retailers has yet taken.
The move should allow publishers to offer a level of interactive and engaging content through the Sony Reader Store that other retailers will not be able to match — which uses a proprietary ebook format for its iBooks Author platform that is very similar to EPUB3. It should also please publishers, which have to deal with the expense and complexity of building and managing multiple file formats for their retailer clients; the hope among many in the industry is that all ebook retailers adopt EPUB3 as a standard.
Sony did not respond to questions about the details of its announcement before press time.
Despite trouble getting mass adoption by the book publishing industry and ebook retailers, EPUB3 seems to be gaining momentum. In Oct., the International Digital Publishing Forum, the standards organization that has defined the scope of EPUB3, announced a new testing tool for it. In Nov., Hachette announced that it was committed to the EPUB3 format and launched a program to publish all its books in the format starting in March 2013. In Dec., Kobo said that it would be supporting EPUB3 fully by the third-quarter of 2013, making it the first major ebook retail platform to do so. Later in Dec., an Israeli book production firm, announced that it had developed the first Android e-reading app that fully supported EPUB3. And in Jan. at the Digital Book World Children’s Publishing Goes Digital conference, a Barnes & Noble representative seemed to indicate that the company would move toward supporting EPUB3 in 2013.
Sony Reader Store Launches Kids Corner to Support EPUB3.0 Content
The new microsite features enhanced, interactive children’s content for Android™ tablet and smartphone owners
Today Reader™ Store from Sony announced the addition of Kids Corner, a dedicated shopping section that will offer illustrated and enhanced children’s content. Kids Corner supports EPUB3.0 content, a new industry standard file format, allowing customers to enjoy embedded media and interactivity within the book itself when viewed on compatible Android tablets and smartphones.
Parents will be able to filter content in Kids Corner by appropriate age level and Reader Store will indicate per title which devices will be compatible with the new content. Reader Store plans to regularly add additional titles to the Kids Corner catalog. Some initial notable titles include: CURIOUS GEORGE by H.A. Rey (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), titles in the award-winning Sally series (Trajectory) by bestselling author and artist Stephen Huneck as well as titles by bestselling author and artist Todd Parr (Hachette Book Group). Reader Store will also continue to support previous EPUB standard formats.
“We are proud to be one of the first retailers to support this open eBook standard,” said Natascha Helbig, Director of Reader Store. “Kids Corner is the perfect place to offer this exciting new content. The enhanced books make reading even more immersive and interactive for children.”
Kids Corner is available now at readerstore.sony.com/kidscorner.
Reader Store helps book lovers discover their next story, from sweep-you-off-your feet romances to hard-boiled blockbusters, on Reader from Sony, or compatible PC, Mac®, iOS and Android devices. Read anywhere at any time with thousands of eBooks and periodicals. For more information please visit readerstore.sony.com.