What image formats are suitable for ePub?

A question posted over on the ePub Community Group was asking what image formats are suitable for use in ePub.

As Jon Noring replied, the OPS 2.0 Specifiaction says that an OPS (ePub) Reading System must support the GIF, PNG, JPEG and SVG image formats.

These are pretty standard formats to be supported so I don’t see any problems with rendering these. But I do have some concerns regarding SVG – these of course stem form having absolutely no clue at all about the format!

Still, I am wondering if there will be any issues when rendering SVG, akin perhaps, to what we had during the browser wars.

Is there anyone out there who understands SVG and can shed some light on this matter?

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4 thoughts on “What image formats are suitable for ePub?”

  1. Thanks for the comment Marshall. What you say about the potential for reading devices to render SVG at a less optimal speed makes a lot of sense, particularly if we listen to the discussions going on around the net (I’ll try to dig up some links to these). Adobe themselves recommend breaking up your eBook file in to chapter size chunks to help with the speed.

    If I was to start using SVG then I think I would want to create interesting images, and by their very nature, these will be quite complex. Perhaps for the near future we should stick with good old raster images.

  2. It’s a several years-old, well-received format maintained by the W3C with many existing and interoperable implementations. The OPS specifically states that SVG scripting content “must not” be used by authors and “should not” be rendered by reading systems, which essentially makes SVG purely an XML-based vector graphics format. The only issue I see is that SVG rendering can be complex and may be slower than optimal on portable devices.

  3. Hi Mike,

    Not sure what consistitutes ‘complex’ for you, but you might want to download and try Inkscape: http://inkscape.org/

    All of the major browsers now support a very decent amount of SVG, with the one holdout being (guess)…. Microsoft.

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