Even though the specification for EPUB v3.0 was finalised last October, we’ve yet to see any production ready EPUB3 books out in the wild. The likely reason for this is that EPUB3 compatible eReaders have only come on the scene recently and without an eReader, there’s no way to test how the ebooks look – a bit of a catch-22.
Version 3.0 ebooks may seem non-existent at the moment but this will no doubt change before the end of the year, so now is a really good time to look at how we’re going to transform our Masters to EPUB3 – you do have your books in a master format right?
This last week I decided to convert one of the titles from epubBooks.com to EPUB3 and set to work on Gulliver’s Travels (download link below). I’ve only found two ways to view my newly generated EPUB3 ebook; Azardi and iBooks. Continue reading
Paul Norton from Adobe Digital Editions has now released the epubpreflight validation tool. This small utility is meant as a compliment to epubcheck and is used to check that your ePub files are suitable for Mobile devices. There are many guidelines that need to be followed when developing ePub for mobile devices that are not mentioned in the EPUB specs, so this is going to be a very welcome tool.
Here’s a list of things that epubpreflight currently checks for;
- Content files that are empty.
- Content files that are over 300KB.
- Image files that are empty.
- Image files that are over 10MB.
As you can see the list is rather small at the moment but this will grow in time. On the DE blog, Paul also mentions that he would like to see a set of configuration files that could test for specific platforms (ADE, PRS505, conversion to other formats, etc.)
It’s going to be a good number of years yet before mobile devices have the power to parse very large files (images, chapters, etc) so it’s going to be in everyone’s interest to see this tool developed.
New eBook Standard Now Available For Mass Market Audience was the title from yesterdays WebWire press release on the ePub book catalogue at BooksOnBoard.com. With almost 200 eBooks in the ePub format this is the first real source for mass market books to be released in the new eBook standard.
It’s a little unclear if the ePub versions have DRM restrictions, but as the site states;
DRM Adobe ebooks can be read only on Adobe Reader 7, Adobe Acrobat 7, or Adobe Digital Editions [...] We recommend Adobe Digital Editions for Adobe format eBooks, both pdf and ePub versions…
We must presume that they have DRM in place.
The market is still waiting for better ePub readers and until we get those it won’t matter how many ePub books they release. Let’s hope that the Sony Reader (PRS-505) receives its Digital Editions firmware update soon and that other dedicated readers, such as the Amazon Kindle and Cybook follow suit.
Yes, we still have a long way to go but it does look like we’re on the right track.
Adobe Digital Editions has been updated with enhanced DRM support and flexibility, now at version 1.5. Adobe DE is a Flash based, lightweight, internet application used for reading PDF’s and the IDPF’s ePub document formats.
The enhancements to their DRM means that users activate their DRM protection on a named basis, this allows you to move your protected eBooks/eDocuments across platforms and mobile devices, of course we’d rather not have any DRM (or at least just social DRM). There is also a limit of 6 desktop and 6 handheld devices that you can activate, which should be okay for most people in the short term but over a period of several years we are likely to need to activate more devices than this, particlarly if we have to re-format our OS. We shall have to see what the future holds for those needing to activate more devices.
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.
I created this site because there are very few blogs, mailing lists and other resources on the ePub standard. I wanted to try and bring together the few that there are in one handy place, in the hope to make this information easily available.
I am no ePub expert myself so I’m continually searching for new information and resources to help me learn. One very useful tutorial I found was the ‘Epub Format Construction Guide’.
Not only is this guide about creating ePub documents, it also gives some nice insights into the compliance of the ADE (Adobe Digital Editions) reader, still the most conformant reader at this time. A couple of surprising things about ADE v1.0 is that it does not support certain CSS attributes. Two big surprises were;
The tutorial itself is more like an “annotated example”, if you just wish to construct an ePub document in a quick hassle free way then this will help tremendously. Once nice thing I like about the guide is that it highlights the areas which need to be altered on a per project basis.
In the future I’m hoping to find more detailed tutorials so if you need more in-depth information, you’ll just have to reference the IDPF specifications.
You can read the ‘Epub Format Construction Guide’ at www.hxa7241.org.