Saturday, November 19, 2011

eISBNs and ebook formats

In Does Your Ebook Need Its Own ISBN? (BookBuzzr), the suggestion is made that a publisher should assign a different ISBN (eISBN) to each different electronic format that an ebook is published in.

Since EPUB format (can be read on a NOOK) and MOBI format (can be read on a Kindle) are interconvertible with Calibre for example (see Calibre manual, does it make sense that you have to have one eISBN for the EPUB version and another eISBN for the MOBI version of the "same" ebook? It makes sense — I guess — that there is a different ISBN for a hardback and a paperback version of a book, and each of these from an ebook version, but if the conversion between two ebook formats is just a software conversion process, does it make sense that an ebook in the two formats needs a different ISBN for each format?

I would think that since it's only a software conversion between the two formats (EPUB and MOBI in this case), that you would not need to use two ISBNs. After all, a consumer with the EPUB version can easily make a MOBI version to read on a Kindle — assuming there is no DRM lock on the EPUB version, of course.

(Of course when MOBI goes away and Kindle is EPUB, then this will no longer be an issue.) :)