The Amazon Kindle, the Sony Reader and a host of other electronic ebook readers are proving popular with readers and gadget freaks alike, though the multiple formats for ebooks are confusing for consumers.

With over 25 ebook file formats to keep you on your toes, are we in danger of an ebook format war?

"A format war could hold back the development of the ebook market," Simon Juden, chief executive of the Publishers Association, told the Guardian at the London Book Fair this week.

Amazon and Sony have their own proprietary formats - AZW and BBeB/LRF - and, notes the Guardian, of the other common formats, "Mobipocket is supported by Amazon but not Sony, while Adobe PDF is supported by Sony but not Amazon. Throw DRM into the mix and things become even more complex."

Industry-wide standard

Simon Juden wants the publishing industry to agree on a cross-platform file format, such as the International Digital Publishing Forum's ePub standard. However, the fact that this format is not supported by the Kindle severely hampers the likelihood of this occurring.

Richard Palk, Sony's new business contents and services manager, told London Book Fair attendees that: "ePub has become the de facto UK consumers' format of choice,"

Sony won the last format war, with Blu-ray winning out over the Toshiba-backed HD-DVD format.

Via The Guardian