"So it was with a feeling of deja vu that I listened in mid-2007
to the promises of Amazon about the potential of its new
proprietary e-book platform. While no payment is required to
participate, there are clearly onerous restrictions that could
limit the growth of the market: a proprietary file format, and the
requirement that the e-books only be sold by Amazon.com.
"The file format was a problem for us from the get-go: Amazon's
Kindle file format doesn't provide support for tables or for
so-called monospaced fonts, two formatting features that we use
heavily in our line of technical books. And there is a viable
alternative: Epub, the open format from the International Digital
Publishing Forum, is based on the Web's native format, HTML, and
provides full table and font support. This is the first "strategy
tax" paid by those who embrace proprietary platforms: They can't
support the needs of every niche and must prioritize their support
for mainstream needs."