ENTRIES TAGGED "EPUB"

Current state of formats and platforms

A free SPI Global whitepaper summarizing industry trends

SPi GlobalRemember the old days when PDF was pretty much the only way to distribute content and those PDFs were read on computer screens? PDF still lives, of course, but now we’re also faced with offering content in mobi and EPUB formats for consumption on a variety of platforms and devices.

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What devices and formats do your customers prefer?

Your future content plans can be shaped by asking these questions

Most publishers create ebooks in all formats figuring it doesn’t matter whether mobi is more important than EPUB or if the content is read on an iPad more frequently than on a mobile phone. That approach means these publishers have no idea how their content is being consumed. It also means they probably don’t have a direct channel to their customers or some other way of polling them on their preferences.

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Rich multi-media and a web of devices is driving us to a world of standards

W3C's Jeff Jaffe talks about the Open Web Platform, a harmonious coexistence of HTML5 and EPUB, and the importance of standardization.

At the recent TOC conference in New York, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jeff Jaffe, CEO of the World Wide Web Consortium, to talk about the Open Web Platform and standardization issues. In our video interview (embedded below), Jaffe says HTML5 is by no means a replacement for ebook formats like EPUB or Mobi — he says HTML5 is the core markup used on the web and that EPUB can be viewed as a specialization (at the 0:44 mark) and that increased communication between the communities “will allow us to have better standards built into HTML, so that way, publishing specific standards like EPUB would be able to have far greater capabilities.” (At the 1:39 mark.)

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The publishing industry has a problem, and EPUB is not the solution

Ebooks are deliberately being made defective through digital restrictions

This article contains my personal views, not those of my employer Lonely Planet.

I’ll be blunt. Ebooks and EPUB are to the publishing industry what Blu-Ray is to the movie industry: a solution to yesterday’s problem made irrelevant by broader change in the industry. Both have a couple of years left in them, and there’s good money to be made while the kinks get worked out from the alternatives, but the way the wind is blowing is clear.

Whenever someone proposes EPUB as a solution, ask yourself a question: what’s the problem they’re trying to solve? As a standard drafted by the IDPF, a self-proclaimed “organization for the Digital Publishing Industry”, EPUB is built squarely to address the industry’s biggest headache: ensuring that, in the digital age, they retain the ability to charge money for distributing content. The best interests of authors or readers simply do not figure in the equation. Read more…

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…and along with EPUB 3: New CSS!

Simplifying and eliminating competing visual distractions for the reader

Hopefully you all read Sanders Kleinfeld’s great writeup about O’Reilly’s move to EPUB 3, and the changes and challenges that brings. Along with updating our toolchain, we also revisited our EPUB design and took a stab at improving the user experience. While most of the updates aren’t necessarily very visually exciting or seemingly worth a lot of fanfare, I thought this would be a good opportunity to give some background into the reasoning behind the design choices I made, and some of the limitations we still face, even with the advent of EPUB 3.

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O’Reilly’s journey to EPUB 3

Upgrading to EPUB 3 is not a trivial undertaking

We at O’Reilly are very pleased to announce that we have officially upgraded to EPUB 3, and ebook bundles purchased from oreilly.com will now include EPUB 3 files, in addition to Mobi and PDF files. All O’Reilly ebooks released in 2013 are now available in EPUB 3 format, and in the coming weeks, we will be updating and rereleasing our backlist ebooks in EPUB 3 as well.

But while we’re excited to share this news, this article is not merely a press release. The decision of when and how to upgrade to EPUB 3 has been challenging for many in the publishing community, and it has been a long journey for O’Reilly as well. I’d like to talk more about why we chose to take this step now, what additional value we believe EPUB 3 provides to our customers, and the challenges and tradeoffs we’ve tackled in making our EPUBs backward compatible with EPUB 2 platforms.

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Ebooks and the future of research

Society cannot afford to lose its distributed knowledge backup system

Knowledge cannot progress unless it is aware of its past: a knowledge-seeker must reference the works of previous generations. Literary scholars return to manuscripts, musicians to partitions, artists to museums…

The continued availability of reference works underpins our entire research system. It has become so ingrained in our methods that it barely registers on our list of values to uphold. Yet, that very availability has dissolved into a mirage, to surprisingly little protest.

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PDF is still “better”

Until eBooks are redesigned exclusively for the screen, print and PDF will continue to provide a better user experience

A few weeks ago, I surprised myself. I had decided to learn a new code language, and O’Reilly of course has a great little book about this particular language, so I pulled up the eBook files, and almost without thinking, I loaded the PDF onto my iPad, rather than the EPUB. And my brow furrowed as I tried to figure out why I had made that choice, because as an eBook developer—as a CSS and web technology devotee—shouldn’t I also be a devoted EPUB user?

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Forking the book

How long will it be before the book becomes "unstable" again?

As one of the first mass produced industrial artifacts the book remains a solid cultural signifier of stability. That aura is pretty strong and attractive and makes it pretty hard to think about books as being anything other than static and stable. It appears to be part of their DNA.

While we continue to refer to ebooks as ‘books’ stability seems to be carried on as part of the currency. We don’t really even challenge it. EPUBs and mobi (etc.) with their ‘self -contained’ exactly reproducible nature also appear to reinforce the static nature of things.

Books are stable. Websites are not. That seems to be a delimiter that’s ‘in the air’.

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High-quality PDF-to-EPUB conversion

Newgen's Silk Evolve is a powerful automation platform

How many times have you opened an ebook and noticed awkward hyphenations or other conversion errors? I still see this in the majority of the ebooks I buy and it’s clear these are the result of someone not paying attention during the conversion process. They may be minor annoyances but they reflect poorly on the publishers who produce them.

I recently had a chance to talk about this problem with Patrick Martinent, the CTO at Newgen KnowledgeWorks. They have a terrific platform called Silk Evolve that helps automate and reduce the errors when going from PDF to EPUB. The following Q&A is a preview to what you can expect to hear in Patrick’s session at next month’s TOC NY conference.

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