View Full Version : EPUB3 - Float audio pane with page turns


_savage
01-24-2013, 07:23 AM
Here's the dilemma. I embedded an .mp3 file into each chapter of my EPUB3 ebook, so the reader can read along while listening to a narrator read the chapter as well.

Alas, as the pages turn, that <audio> pane sticks to the first page of the chapter, so pausing it isn't easy at all.

My initial thought was to use something like "position:fixed;" for the <audio> tag but I don't know if that's an acceptable solution. How would I go about this problem?

Thanks!

JSWolf
01-24-2013, 09:44 AM
Bad idea to go ePub 3. Most Readers/apps/programs don't handle ePub 3. So your target audience is going to be so small as to make the effort not worth the bother.

You wont be able to sell to most eBook readers as they won't be able to do a thing with your eBook. Most shops won't accept it. So all you are doing is wasting your time working on ePub 3 if you plan on selling it.

_savage
01-24-2013, 03:00 PM
Actually I do not plan on selling this at all, it's just for myself. And sooner or later EPUB3 will settle in at which point more support will be available anyway; today, iBook seems to have some support of EPUB3 and that is good enough for now.

Now, how can I float the audio player across pages? ;-)

JSWolf
01-24-2013, 03:12 PM
Actually I do not plan on selling this at all, it's just for myself. And sooner or later EPUB3 will settle in at which point more support will be available anyway; today, iBook seems to have some support of EPUB3 and that is good enough for now.

Now, how can I float the audio player across pages? ;-)

The odds are later. Much much later. There not even a hint of an ePub 3 renderer being written for an eInk Reader. The problem is that the multimedia stuff put into ePub 3 is what is going to hold it back for a very long time.

Turtle91
01-24-2013, 05:13 PM
Unfortunately, it is just that kind of thinking - and speaking - that will ensure that ePub 3 is not adopted...
However, Azardi is ePub 3 compliant....and Kris has plans to make Marvin ePub 3 compliant....if there is a demand for a product then the industry will supply it.

THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING/SPEAKING......

Anyway, whether or not you think ePub 3 is a waste of time, does anyone know the answer to his question?? I'm interested in learning about it as well....I'd rather know how to do it, and not need it, than to get caught with my pants around my ankles when a customer wants it yesterday! :)

JSWolf
01-24-2013, 05:20 PM
Unfortunately, it is just that kind of thinking - and speaking - that will ensure that ePub 3 is not adopted...

It's the unrealistic specs that have all this multimedia that will help keep ePub 3 from being adopted.

But to be honest, I can easily see Adobe come out with a version of ADE that supports ePub 2 and ePub 3 (without the multimedia stuff) as a lot devices ADE is used on (eInk Readers) won't do well with all that multimedia.

As a reader, I don't want multimedia and even if I could read the eBook without activating it, it would still be there as code bloat unless I went and stripped it out. This means that I would have to strip out the multimedia from most ePub 3 eBooks. That's just something that will bring about a change back to pBooks.

DiapDealer
01-24-2013, 06:13 PM
It's one thing to advise someone that the market for epub3 books is currently pretty limited; in case they didn't know. However... given that the OP seems perfectly OK with building this epub for personal use—and possible future distribution—and given that ePub3 is a perfectly valid and documented format, why should they have to put up with hearing unrelated reasons for why you don't personally want to have anything to do with ePub3's audio/video features? That's not relevant.

I don't know the answer to the question, but I certainly hope someone who does can help the OP out. Because it appears to be a valid question that deserves a straight answer instead of format-proselytizing.

JSWolf
01-24-2013, 07:24 PM
It's one thing to advise someone that the market for epub3 books is currently pretty limited; in case they didn't know. However... given that the OP seems perfectly OK with building this epub for personal use—and possible future distribution—and given that ePub3 is a perfectly valid and documented format, why should they have to put up with hearing unrelated reasons for why you don't personally want to have anything to do with ePub3's audio/video features? That's not relevant.

I don't know the answer to the question, but I certainly hope someone who does can help the OP out. Because it appears to be a valid question that deserves a straight answer instead of format-proselytizing.

The reason I gave that answer is because most of the ePub 3 questions here are from someone looking to make an eBook for sale.

mrmikel
01-24-2013, 07:48 PM
The fact is that there is and will probably remain a split between epubs meant for tablets and other computers, perhaps some smartphones and e-ink devices.

For the tablets and computers, the screens are bigger and the cpu horsepower greater to handle all the multimedia. What is desirable for them is not necessarily desirable for eink and other small devices.

But for now, everyone is pretending that one size, epub3, will fit all.

JSWolf
01-24-2013, 08:55 PM
I do think that there should be an ePub 3 spec that has no multimedia and after that is developed and out there enough then decide that multimedia was a bad idea and totally scrap it.

_savage
01-25-2013, 02:44 AM
Actually, over the past few months I kept running into several people who'd have the perfect scenario for an EPUB3 and multimedia book. I agree that "traditional" books will be as valid, but they can come in both EPUB2 or EPUB3, it shouldn't make a difference. Adding multimedia to the eBook is optional anyway, so it'll depend on what people want to pack into their books, and how.

On the Mac, I can use Murasaki just fine with the EPUB3 as well. (To test what I have. Doesn't mean it's complete :-))

Having said that: still no answer to the question. I think I'll noodle around this weekend, see how if I can find something that works.

EDIT: Well, the "position:fixed;" doesn't seem to work.

Turtle91
01-25-2013, 08:11 AM
As a reader, I don't want multimedia and even if I could read the eBook without activating it, it would still be there as code bloat unless I went and stripped it out. This means that I would have to strip out the multimedia from most ePub 3 eBooks. That's just something that will bring about a change back to pBooks.

I think you may be confusing the ePub 3 standard with an actual ePub with the multimedia included. An ePub 3 compliant reader will display all ePub2 books and support the multimedia/mathxml etc of ePub 3 - it doesn't require it - so there won't be any need to go back to pBooks. If you are worried about those extra "features" that the author intended taking up too much space on your device then you always have the option of NOT purchasing the book...or stripping it out if you absolutely want to...but that doesn't mean that there aren't people who have a perfectly legitimate need/desire for the functionality allowed with the new standard - as the OP stated he has run across several.

While I agree I don't really care to have someone else's sound track playing in the background while I read a book - a young reader might enjoy "mood" sounds in a mystery. I wouldn't want to take away that readers option to have it. I can also see a great reason for embedded video if you are making a "how-to" book with examples. I also would like more of my eText math books to display the equations properly instead of being stuck with a PDF format. Sooo - having the CAPABILITY to do these things in ePub3 is a good thing but not mandatory since it will display ePub3 compliant books without them just fine.

_Savage, I hope you let us know what you find out!

Cheers!

JSWolf
01-25-2013, 09:24 AM
The problem is eInk readers. If ePub 3 was to become adopted with all the multimedia, it would either be unsuitable for an eInk reader or the version of ePub 3 would be without. The other problem is because it's there, I think it will be used. I do think we'd end up with a lot of eBooks with multimedia.

Turtle91
01-25-2013, 10:43 AM
I think it's obvious that if you own a device - eink or otherwise - that doesn't support the multimedia aspects of ePub3 then you won't buy the books that have that incorporated, just like I don't buy an old vacume tube floor stand black&white tv if I want a portable solution to watch my videos.

Each device has its uses.

However, to stifle technological progress because a particular device doesn't support the new technology is like saying we can't develop horseless carriages because there is nowhere to hook up the horses...or we can't develop microwaves because there is nowhere to stack the firewood...or we can't develop washing machines because the rocks and washer board make too much noise on the spin cycle... :D

If there is market demand, industry will develop the tools and eventually the eink readers will be able to support it.

For that matter, as technology improves - memory becomes smaller/faster and you have more of it and processors are smaller/faster - does it really matter that a normal ebook would be 5mb?? It wasn't so long ago that I was the first person to install a hard drive on my PERSONAL computer - it was a whopping 20mb hard drive...I was the king...my how times have changed...I got a 64gb USB drive the other day...

Technology does improve with time.

Cheers!

Turtle91
01-25-2013, 10:53 AM
Sorry for the thread drift (hijack)!

JSWolf
01-25-2013, 11:16 AM
eInk Readers are for people who want to read. They don't play Angry Birds, They don't check eMail while you read. They don't tell you you have a new facebook message. They don't ping, bleep, ding when someone else sends you a text/eMail, Facebook message. In fact, they just let you get on with reading without telling you your friend has made his/her move in Words With Friends. This multimedia is going to get in the way of reading. You'll be using a tablet for those sort of eBooks and you will get distracted.

It's all about the words. The videos or audio don't need to be there if the words are good enough to convey the meaning. In fact, having video can ruin the reading experience. How many times have you seen a movie and then read the book the movies was based on only to have the cast of the move stuck in your head instead of your imagination deciding for you?

Even if we are able to ignore the multimedia in the eBooks and just read, we'll still have the bloat of the multimedia in our eBooks. And we won't know which eBooks with multimedia work well without activating the multimedia. I can see the words dying because there's a video to show you what the words should have been telling you.

Multimedia in eBooks could be a huge step backwards. And I see it as something that's a gimmick and I see it being overused and ruining reading.

Turtle91
01-25-2013, 12:04 PM
Multimedia in eBooks could be a huge step backwards. And I see it as something that's a gimmick and I see it being overused and ruining reading.

:rofl:

I remember not too many years (months?) ago when people were saying the exact same thing about ebooks...."oh, it will ruin reading", "I like the smell and feel of turning a paper page", "authors will never go for it"....

Times change. Technology changes. What is new and fandangled now is old hat and "like, so 10 minutes aagoo" tomorrow.

I completely support your desire for a basic book so that you can read it on your eink device. But perhaps you should allow others to take advantage of new technology/formats/standards if they wish??

pholy
01-25-2013, 10:13 PM
Sorry for the thread drift (hijack)!

Not your fault, Turtle.

_savage
01-26-2013, 05:08 PM
First, I'd like to complain about the :offtopic:

Second, that's an interesting conversation on the general use of EPUB3, and I agree with Turtle91 here. Both standards are compatible. In fact, when I took one of my EPUB2 books (text only, two illustrations) and converted it to EPUB3, nothing changed at all in file size and as far as the reader was concerned. Just some internal .xml adjustments to comply with the definitions of EPUB3.

Here are a few scenarios though where readers do profit from embedded multimedia:

Cook books. If you've ever tried to follow text only instructions to make a meal, you've probably noticed that it's a bit difficult; in contrast, having images helps a little, but watching somebody cook helps a lot. Thus the success of cooking shows on TV paired with cook books.
Educational books. I remember that in school we read about experiments (physics, chemistry) or behavior of animals, cell division, whatnot. Sometimes there were drawings to illustrate these concepts. But once we went off and _did_ the experiments, or _watched_ a movie about cell division, things took on a whole new understanding.
Archiving. In my case (why I asked the initial question for this thread in the first place) we are using eBooks to archive talks given by a meditation teacher in form of well-formatted eBooks. It's great! We have the original talk, we have the written transcript, and a few images scattered around. You'd be surprised how this changes the whole experience!
Encyclopedias, documentations, the list goes on...

Yes, these books are huge compared to text only books. Two things to that argument. The EPUB3 standard _encourages_ embedding media, but doesn't require it. That means, you can stream content to your eReader, and most of the time my Nook is on some Wifi anyway. Memory is cheap.

Plain reading books won't disappear, and I will always love picking up real books :book2: But I like my Nook eInk to travel with more books. And I also like the idea of being able to do so much more with different media that traditional printed books wouldn't allow me to do. Just because I can :2thumbsup Having said that, leafing through a large teatable photobook is something no device can give me.

But I do have the choice and opportunity to pick what I like, right?

And now, please let's go back to the initial question. Can I somehow, magically, "fix" the audio pane to the pages as I read through the flowing content? :chinscratch:

mzmm
01-28-2013, 07:59 PM
i've never been able to use fixed positioning with interactive elements (audio, video, buttons, etc) in ibooks. apple's ebook forums are full of people searching for the same thing, but i've never encountered a success story there either.

with the particular issue you're having, it may be good to know that an audio/video element will stop playing once you leave the html page it's on - i mention this because it seems from your original post that you only wanted media to stop playing on page-turn.

if you're able to structure the book in such a way that the media is isolated on certain html pages (like if you're using it as intro-media attached to a chapter beginning for example, rather than embedded half-way through a paragraph), then this might be a solution.

otherwise, there's not really much i think you can do, but if you do find a 'fixed' solution i would be really interested to hear!

_savage
01-29-2013, 06:32 AM
Thank you nzmm!

Using "position:fixed;" did not work on the audio element, just as you expected. And since the audio contains the chapter content as a read-along, breaking it into a separate .html file wouldn't work well either.

I wonder if there's something with @page that can be done, but I suspect not. At some point maybe Javascript, but that's still some ways in the future, huh? :-)

mzmm
01-29-2013, 06:48 AM
i've tried numerous js options as well, but have never had any success using any of those methods either.

but you're right, as CSS3 becomes more supported in e-readers, i hope that there may eventually be a way of defining a fixed position for various elements without resorting to position:fixed. i'm thinking something like

@page {
@top-left {
content: media(controls)
}
}

although it sounds pretty far-fetched now. one can dream.

dgatwood
01-30-2013, 01:38 AM
Or just build the page using JavaScript, use position:absolute for the structure, and put the turnable content in an iframe, then do the page turn animation yourself using CSS transforms and transitions. In principle, there's no reason you couldn't.... :)