Quiet? Not for too long…

This announcement is to let you know that over the coming weeks there will be very few updates to the site.

I recently moved apartments and it will be a few more weeks before I can get an internet connection fixed up. For now I have to limit myself to doing basic email and maintenance during my lunch break, which is usually no more than half an hour a day.

On the weekends I will be online for an hour or two while having a coffee at the local San Francisco Coffee shop down in Ostbahnhof (Munich). Perhaps I might be able to add an article or two then.

Once I am back online I’m going to start updating the site much more regular.

Thanks for your Patience.

Mike Cook

Did you attend DB2008 today?

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.

New DAISY Pipeline Released

DAISY have announced a new release of their DAISY Pipeline, which now adds support for the Microsoft “Save As DAISY XML” transformer add-in, designed for Microsoft Office Word 2007, Word 2003 and Word XP.

Along with adding support for the add-in they have made a number of usability and performance improvements and also included an ePub/OPS validator.

For those who don’t know, ePub documents can include either XHTML or DAISY DTBook files natively. A DAISY DTB is most often used to make content accessible for blind and print-disabled individuals but can also be used as a master file for conversion into other formats, which is where the pipeline will come in handy for anyone wanting to create ePub books using DTB rather than XHTML.

The DAISY Pipeline is not for the faint-hearted but if you are serious about ePub and creating documents/eBooks accessible to print-disabled users, then this could be a very useful tool indeed.

Waterstones in the UK to stock the Sony Reader

Good news for all British Sony Reader (PRS-505) fans! According to theBookseller.com, it’s believed Waterstones have signed a deal with Sony to stock the Reader when it is released the in the UK later this year.

As a Brit myself this is great news. I bought my Reader from the U.S. in December 2006 but have to live with reading public domain titles or buying PDF versions from sites such as eBooks.com and so fighting with Sony’s inferior PDF viewing quality. Let’s hope once it’s released I’ll be able to use their services, even though my Sony is a U.S. model.

It looks like eBook readers are going to have a good time this year in the UK, I’m sure the rest of Europe won’t be too far behind for Sony or the Amazon Kindle.

Although we’re still waiting for Adobe’s Digital Editions to be released for the Sony Reader, once this happens, all those ePub titles being released by Penguin and HarperCollins will give Sony’s PRS-505 a huge boost over the Amazon Kindle. No doubt Amazon are aware of this so let’s hope they react and make the Kindle read the ePub format natively.

Harper Collins UK to release titles as EPUB

Hot on the heels of Penguin’s announcement, Harper Collins UK now have plans to release their titles in both print and eBook format this coming September. Thanks to Graeme Neil’s article over at theBookseller.com for uncovering this excellent piece of news.

According to his article, Victoria Barnsley, HC UK C.E.O., says that HC is also looking in to clearing the rights to release their 2,500 title back catalogue, ready for this autumn.

If you’ve any doubts that EPUB will not become the eBook standard then you should take note of these movements within the industry – EPUB is certainly getting some influential backing. It looks to me that the book [and music] industry are finally listening to their customers? Let’s hope the trend continues!

It’s great that publishers are moving over to the EPUB format but perhaps we can also help it along a little more. Why not start converting public domain titles to this eBook format? This will certainly encourage reader applications to be written, and the more eReaders there are, the more people will want EPUB eBooks!

I’m working toward creating conversion scripts to create EPUB files myself, which I’ll talk more about in the future.

Keep your eyes on epubBooks.com as I’ll be trying to bring together more resources and tutorials to help you in creating EPUB documents.

PVI to double production of their E-Ink Screens

PVI Screen Image - Although this is not directly related to ePub it could have big consequences in the future. There was a post over at DigiTimes.com (thanks to mobileread.com for picking this up) on PVI’s plans to “double its capacity for electrophoretic display (EPD)”, if you’re not sure what these are then take a look at the nearest Kindle or Sony Reader screen!

There’s no ETA on when they will start production of the E-Ink/VizPlex screens but the indications are that it could be sometime this year.

Currently there’s a lot of debate around the net on the ‘apparent’ short supply of VizPlex screens, with luck this will put an end to the shortage and no doubt allow even more dedicated readers to be developed.

What does this have to do with ePub? The way I see it, if there are more machines out there in the market place we’ll likely see more support for ePub books, this will then create more pressure for publishers to produce titles in the .epub format. With luck consumers will start to demand a format that is cross-platform compatible (with or without DRM), allowing them to read not only on their dedicated Reader, PDA or smartphone, but also on their PC or MAC…helping to bring down The Tower of eBabel.

Join the new EPUB Community mailing list

I’m currently subscribed to a number of mailing lists, though I must confess I don’t really contribute [I hang my head in shame]. As a result of being a member I received an invitation from Jon Noring to his new YahooGroup, EPub Community — I’m starting to believe he is addicted to these lists ;-)

In the invitation email he writes,

EPub Community is intended for publication creators, developers, readers, and anyone else interested in all things related to EPub and the IDPF specifications which underlie EPub (OPS/OPF/OCF).

Although the group’s focus is likely to be fairly technical, we certainly invite and encourage non-technical discussions.

To subscribe you’ll need to do one of the follow things;

  1. With your YahooID — click on the “Join this Group” button at the group’s homepage
  2. Send a blank email to epub-community-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

This group is independent to the IDPF but could become a great place to discuss all things ePub.

At the moment Jon is away travelling so he has switched off the ability to make posts. He informs us that once he returns, allowing ample time for there to be a good number of subscribers, he’ll open the group for posting.

In a personal email to Jon I made a passing reference on how to write the word ePub, perhaps I’ll make my opening post on that very subject.

ePub…exactly how do we write that?

I’m confused! Okay, so this happens quite regular, but on this occasion I think I might have good reason.

I’ve been following this new IDPF format for some time now and I certainly have great belief in it, but it seems to me that no one knows how the word should be written. Here’s a short list of what I’ve seen so far;

  • ePub (my current preferred way)
  • Epub
  • EPub
  • EPUB
  • epub

I haven’t made up my mind completely but my two favourites are ePub and EPUB. David at TeleRead has often mentioned the need for an ePub logo and I whole-heartedly agree. Let’s get the ‘look’ in peoples minds and what better way than a logo.

But is it really so important? When I think on how people talk about “mp3” I don’t have any fixed ideas in mind (nor a logo for that matter) and mp3 is huge!

Well, until someone says otherwise, I think I’ll stick with ePub.

I you have have your own thoughts on this, please do leave a comment.

UPDATE: The IDPF officially chose “EPUB” as the correct way to write about the standard.