After many months of hard work, the EPUB Working Group has released the first Public Draft of the new EPUB® 3 specifications for review. This is a substantial update on the current spec and has core changes that include;
- HTML5 support
- Rich Media and Interactivity
- Layout Improvements
- Global Languages
- Accessibility Improvements
EPUB is a XML and Web Standards based delivery format for digital books and publications allowing content to be used on many Reading Systems, which include Apple iOS, Android, Desktop computers and dedicated eReaders.
The new EPUB3 is a major revision to the current standard and with a move to HTML5 based content, now provides support for key emerging technologies including video, audio, scripting, interactivity, styling and layout enhancements, vertical writing, improved accessibility and MathML support.
The WG has also made big improvements on how the EPUB 3 spec is structured, now providing 5 documents; EPUB 3 Overview, Publications 3.0, Content Documents 3.0, Open Container Format 3.0 and Media Overlays 3.0. You will also find an, EPUB 3 Changes from EPUB 2.0.1 document, which should help everyone better understand the changes made from the old spec.
It must be noted that this is just the first public draft and the EPUB WG are now open for both IDPF members and general public to comment on.
Since EPUB became the industry standard eBook format there has been a lot of talk regarding the lack of an official logo, and this was actually an important point to make.
For almost any standard media in existence there is also an official logo, think DVD, CD, etc. This allows distributors and device manufacturers to display the logo and show that they are supporting that standard.
So in April this year the IDPF (those who created the standard) launched a logo competition, asking both members and non-members to submit their own design. In total 203 entries from 18 different countries were submitted and today the winner was finally announced.
Graphic designer and author, Ralph Burkhardt submitted the winning entry, summarising his entry with;
I wanted to create a sign and that is also recognizable as a possible file format graphic (e.g. icons). It should be easy understandable and recognizable.
You can read the full IDPF competition announcement on their website, where you can also find a link to the ZIP file which contains various different file formats, including an Illustrator EPS file.
My initial thoughts on the logo are that I like it. I guess the only complaint I would have is that the “ePUB” text might be better as bold face, as when the image is resized smaller, that text starts to fade away a little and becomes not so recognisable.
I truly hope all the eReader manufactures that fully support the EPUB format will now start to make use of the new logo. I’ll be implementing this into all the EPUB eBooks found here on epubBooks.com, which I hope to have live soon.
I’ve had a crazy old time since I returned home from the Frankfurt Book Fair last week so this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and write a little about my time there, and an interesting time it was.
I again had the pleasure of having lunch with IDPF Executive Director, Michael Smith. There was no real agenda, it was just a chance for us to have a good chin-wag about ePub, how things are moving for the format and such other things. This year the IDPF held three sessions but due to my day job duties in London I only managed to attend one of his sessions; missing what I’m sure was an extremely interesting ‘EPUB Update and Tweaks and Tricks for EPUB on Devices’ session presented by Keith Fahlgren from O’Reilly – I’m wholey dissapointed about that.
Still, I did manage to attend the ‘New and Updated eBook Reading Devices’ which was rather interesting.
For this session there were four speakers; Michaël Dahan (Bookeen), Neelan Choksi (Lexcycle Stanza), Willem Endhoven (iRex Technologies) and finally Richard Siegersma (ECO Reader). All the speakers had some interesting things to say but a couple of points stuck out.
Next Monday will mark the start of the 2008 Frankfurt Book Fair. The IDPF will of course be attending, and also presenting a session entitled; Digital Lunch: Digital Publishing and the EPUB Standard.
Mike Smith (IDPF Executive Director), Steve Potash (Overdrive), Fionnuala Duggan (Random House Digital Group UK) and Robert Nell (Sony Reader) will be talking about the “effects on Publishers, Channels and Devices – Market Experience with the Sony Reader and other Software using EPUB”. eBooks is currently the fastest growing segment in the publishing industry and with sites such as Feedbooks.com delivering over 2,000,000 titles in the last few months alone, the ePub book format is set to dominate the eBook world.
If you’re going to be at the Frankfurt Book Fair then I recommend attending this session. This will be taking place at 12:00 o’clock on the Thursday (16th October) in Hall 4C, Alliance Room.
Two weeks ago the IDPF held their Digital Book 2008 conference at the McGraw-Hill auditorium in Manhattan, New York City. This was a one day conference held as part of the International Digital Publishing Forum’s (IDPF) spring education series, with the main focus being on the emerging global eBook market and adoption of the ePub digital publication standard.
Among the discussions were eBook standards, international digital publishing, the education market and new innovations. Publishers Weekly reported the main theme to come from the day was that the “Customer is King”. The internet has given eBook developers and publishers “unprecedented access to consumer feedback” which they need to listen to in order to grow the eBook market.
The one day IDPF Digital Book 2008 Conference is being held today in New York City, which is being sponsored by the likes of Adobe, OverDrive and Resetta.
Alas I did not have the opportunity to go myself but I will be on the lookout for any news or blog posts on the days events. Particularly on the seminars Publisher Experience and Workflow using the new IDPF “EPUB” Standard and eBook Reading Devices and Software.
If there is anyone out there who attended the conference and would like to share their thoughts on the day, for inclusion here on ePub Books, please contact me via the Contact page.
ePub’s presence within the industry is hotting up, which is great news for all of us who are backing the ePub format to become the standard used for eBooks.
Philip Jones, managing editor of theBookseller.com, has written an excellent article on the current problems within the industry regarding the eBook format. He also notes that during a recent speech at the Publishers Association a.g.m, Simon Juden, CEO of the Publishers Association in the UK, is calling on the industry to resolve the current problem with the lack of a standard format.
You should drop by Philips blog and read his excellent article, A question of format, where he makes a very important point regarding the lack of ePub readers. Without a good array of readers how can we expect publishers to adopt the ePub format.
The two best options so far are the IDPF doesn’t push the ePub format in a big way, they could well loose out altogether! Would having an Official ePub Logo help? – A point often discussed by David Rothman from the TeleRead Blog.
All is not lost just yet, we’ve had some encouraging news from publishers recently. Hachette Group USA have already adopted ePub and a couple of weeks back Penguin UK announced they will be releasing all their titles in the .epub format from September 2008 onwards. Let’s just hope others follow suit soon.
During the last week or so there’s been lots of discussion around the internet regarding how we write the word “epub”. There have been many good reasons for choosing one style over another but if we take the TeleRead Poll as any kind of indication then “ePub” seems to be a favourite.
Of course what we’ve all been waiting for is someone from the IDPF to make an official comment.
Earlier today Garth Conboy, who co-chaired two IDPF groups that developed the standards encapsulated under the “EPUB” term and a current board member, made an interesting post to the EPub Community regarding this subject.
Garth states that “.epub was first used as the file extension for publications contained in an OCF container” and that the “term EPUB was created to mean an OPS/OPF publication contained in an OCF container. Trading one four-letter (almost) acronym for three three-letter acronyms.”
It seems that the IDPF have taken note of the discussions going on at TeleRead and the EPub Community and although the following is not an official statement, it is great to have feedback from someone on the inside.
There was a discussion of how the standard should be capitalized this morning on the IDPF Board of Directors call — perhaps driven by the discussion on this or the Teleread list. The IDPF certainly can’t dictate how others or the industry uses “e” “p” “u” “b” in that order, but it has decided how it will use the term.
The soon-to-be-created IDPF style guide will likely use “EPUB” to mean the standard (OPS/OPF in an OCF container) and also the class of documents/publications that so conform. The file extension will, of course, remain “.epub”. This is at least somewhat analogous to HTML documents having the .html or .htm extensions (yes, I know HTML is a true acronym, and EPUB isn’t).
Great news that the IDPF are now thinking about this and who knows, perhaps we’ll seen an official ePub logo in the near future too!
Garth’s personal choice is the same as mine here at epubbooks.com; he personally likes “the look of “ePub” better, and if there were someday to be a logo that denotes EPUB compliance or validity, I’d hope we do something around the camel-caps version.”
Digital Book 2008 is a one-day conference held in New York City on May 14th. The conference is hosted by the IDPF and is part of their spring educational series. This is considered the best opportunity of the year to network with the global publishing and online technology leaders in the digital books world.
If you wish to attend you must register, but be warned, the event has been sold out for the last five years!
At the top of the agenda will be the emerging global eBook market and adoption of the EPUB digital publication standard. Some of the highlights are;
- Publisher Experience and Workflow using the new IDPF “EPUB” Standard
- “EPUB” Update on eBook Reading Devices and Software
- Using Digital Book Technologies to Drive Sales and Create New Consumer Experiences
- eBooks in Education and Accessibility Initiatives
There are going to be some fantastic speakers including;
- Michael Smith (IDPF)
- Bill McCoy (Adobe Systems Incorporated)
- Peter Balis (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)
- Garth Conboy (eBook Technologies, Inc.)
- Leslie Hulse (HarperCollins Publishers)
- Neil DeYoung (Hachette Book Group USA)
- Willem Endhoven (iRex Technologies BV)
- Martin Görner (Mobipocket.com)
– I wish I could attend myself!