Last November, I speculated as to which, if any, eBook format Microsoft would support in Windows 8 tablets.
[Mistakenly, I also ranked Windows Media Center as “more central” to Microsoft’s media consumption story. What? It’s just one piece of the puzzle. Anyway. Always willing to admit mistakes.]
Microsoft agreed to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Barnes & Noble’s Nook division on Monday, giving the bookstore chain stronger footing in the hotly contested electronic book market and creating an alliance that could intensify the fight over the future of digital reading.
ePub is now the official winner in the eBook format wars. Why do I say that? It’s the eBook format supported by nearly everyone. Apple. Sony. Adobe. Kobo Reader. Blackberry Playbook. Everyone except Amazon, which uses a proprietary variant of the Mobi format; to be kind, they also support a command-line ePub converter called KindleGen. Woo woo.
At any rate, here’s what Microsoft has decided:
- On the eBook format side, Microsoft chooses ePub by investing in the Nook Division. It’s the primary eBook format for the Nook Color and that’s the future. Winner: ePub.
- On the device side, the news release says the Nook Division will create a Nook Reader for Windows 8. That reader will likely read multiple format types (the Android-based Nook already does), with ePub prominent among them. Winner: ePub.