What will EPUB3 mean for digital publishing?
On the 15th February 2011 the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) announced the availability of the first Public Draft of EPUB3. This article is a high level overview of EPUB3, its key focus areas and what they mean for digital publishing.
Who are the IDPF and what is EPUB
The IDPF is global standards organization focused on electronic publishing and content consumption. EPUB is the IDPF’s key standard. EPUB is free and open eBook standard designed for reflowable content, meaning that the text display can reflow (or be optimized) for the particular reading device being used. An IDFP EPUB Working Group is responsible for the ...view middle of the document...
Improved multimedia support
Multimedia such as audio and video is already supported by major eBook retailers (Amazon, Apple, B&N) using HTML5 tagging however there is a lack of standards on the audio and video formats, EPUB3 aims to address this. This will allow publishers to create a single version of an eBook containing multimedia as opposed to multiple versions to accommodate the current varied requirements. EPUB3 will also support streaming audio & video, this will improve compatibility as the correct audio or video format can be streamed depending on the reading device in use.
EPUB3 will have the ability to save and search non-Roman scripts such as Japanese, Chinese and Arabic, these will be handled as font characters rather than JPEG images as with current EPUB spec. EPUB3 will improve on bi-directional text support and standards, and have support for vertical text layout. All of these changes will make a wider range of literature available from EPUB files.
Improved accessibility & metadata
The DAISY accessibility standards will be better integrated into EPUB3 improving the usefulness of reading devices to the visually impaired. EPUB3 will also feature enhanced metadata support and the possibility of embedded ONIX which will help publishers when supplying metadata information. EPUB3 will also look at more granular metadata and methods to encode and support articles the fundamental unit of magazines and...