Earlier in the week, I ranted about my frustration with the lack of commercial ebookstores on Android. Chief among my frustrations was a lack of ePUB readers that could handle DRM, the one complaint that overlapped with the otherwise better stocked iPhone. Now the iPhone has gone and beaten Android on all ebook fronts, as txtr’s new app reads ePUBs with Adobe Digital Rights Management.
Why does ePUB matter, specifically the kind linked to an AdobeID? Because it is fast becoming the dominant format for any non-Kindle ebooks. Barnes and Noble quietly switched to ePUB about a month ago (though they are using a more advanced form of ePUB DRM, currently only available to B&N), as did Sony. If you want to borrow an ebook from your local library, it comes as an ePUB. Cool-er, Kobo,and any other branded stores are using ePUB. Only Amazon and eReader do not carry them!
So having ePUBs available on the iPhone is a BIG DEAL, in that it expands an already spreading format to another major platform. Teleread mentioned there may have been a small German-language ePUB reader for the iPhone, but the txtr app is the first mainstream option. And unlike the Barnes and Noble app, which is technically also an ePUB app, txtr lets you upload your own books to the iPhone via txtr.com. If the rumored Apple Tablet really does run iPhone apps then it just vaulted way to the front of the “multipurpose ebook reader devices”, as now almost every ebook you could think of can be read on your iPhone!