One of Amazon’s key steps in building the Kindle platform was buying the early ebook startup Mobipocket in 2005. The French company was stripped for parts and allowed to wither for years before being forced to shut down its retail and distribution operation in 2011, and now it is about to close completely.
The Mobipocket homepage has recently been updated with a new notice:
The Mobipocket website & its services will be permanently shut down on Oct 31st, 2016. Prior to that date, please ensure:
- You have downloaded copies of all the ebook content you’ve purchased through Mobipocket. Please re-download any ebooks you need prior to October 31st.
- You have activated all your Mobipocket CDROMs. You can activate CDROMs by clicking.
Given that Mobipocket has not sold ebooks in nearly five years, nor updated its apps since 2008, I seriously doubt that this will affect anyone.
Anyone who valued the DRMed ebooks they bought in Mobipocket format has already stripped the DRM and converted to another format. (And of course DRM-free Mobi ebooks are technically identical to Kindle ebooks, so they can be easily loaded on to Kindle apps and hardware.)
Me, I haven’t bought a DRMed Mobi ebook since I don’t know when, but when I did I mainly bought from Fictionwise (which was shut down in late 2012).
But I did used to buy a lot of Mobipocket ebooks. Mobipocket (along with Microsoft’s MSReader, Adobe PDF, and eReader) used to be one of the major ebook formats.
As late as 2009 and 2010 it was still sometimes worth buying either MSReader or Mobipocket ebooks and stripping the DRM; sometimes the older format cost less than the Kindle or Epub versions, or sometimes a title might be available in only the older formats (no, seriously, that was still happening in 2010).
But that stopped being true a long time ago.
image by banger1977