For years Amazon have ignored criticism with their lack of support for the popular EPUB format, which is a standard published by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) and universally accepted by all other ereaders.
Instead, Amazon chose to support MOBI which was the result of its acquisition of the French company Mobi Pocket back in 2005 and AZW (which is just a rebranding of the MOBI format).
But in a recent announcement this week, Amazon have confirmed that the Kindle will support EPUB in late 2022.
While its great news that Kindles will now support what is regarded as the industry standard format, it does come with some limitations.
Users will not be able to transfer EPUB files manually via USB.
So, why have Amazon restricted this to cloud only?
During the transfer Send to Kindle will also convert the file from EPUB to KF8 file, which although technically is an EPUB, the format is only readable on Kindle devices.
Our Guide on Setting up Send to Kindle will have you ready for when Amazon releases the update.
It may also allow Amazon to check the Data Rights Management (DRM) on the EPUB to verify the books purchase.
This decision leaves doubt as to whether Amazon will fully open EPUB to allow users to download manually in the future.
So, why is this such a big deal?
Well, it allows Kindle users to purchase ebooks from other online retails and even directly from publishers.
Previously you had no option but to purchase ebooks through the Kindle Store*
Amazon’s decision to allow EPUB format gives consumers the option to purchase from a variety of online retailers, these include:
Some distributors have huge offers and discounts on ebooks that you can’t get on Amazon.
It also paves the way for subscription-based services such as Scribd access to a wider audience. For a monthly free you have access to ebooks, audiobooks and magazines which turns out to be cheaper than having Prime and Audible.
When will this be available?
There is no confirmed release date as to when the firmware, but expect to see and update available later in the year.
*It is possible to purchase an ebook through a third-party online bookstore, but you would then need to convert the file from EPUB to MOBI which can get quite technical.