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Old 06-16-2011, 02:15 PM   #1
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Exclamation EPUB3 Compatibility

I've just finished an article in the latest tech news stating that the EPUB3 standard has been approved. Does anyone know if this is going to have any effect on our ereaders, and if so, what can we do about it?

Thanks in advance,
Dan
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Old 06-16-2011, 02:18 PM   #2
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ugh.............like we don't have enough "standards"..........please let me know what you find out!
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:21 PM   #3
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Epub3 files are supposed to be backwards compatible.
Here, see for yourself:
http://code.google.com/p/epub-revision/downloads/list
Obviously, the advanced multimedia and interactive enhancements bloating the file won't present themselves but the base ebook will.
Try Moby Dick...
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Old 06-18-2011, 01:01 AM   #4
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It was approved in May 2011 but not sure how long until it will be adopted.

I'm looking forward to the ability to share reading location and bookmarks between ePub devices.

Quote:
The new EPUB Canonical Fragment Identifier (epubcfi) Specification [EPUBCFI] defines a standardized method for linking into a Publication.

Required support for this scheme in Reading Systems means that EPUB now has an interoperable linking mechanism, one that can, for example, facilitate the sharing of bookmarks and reading locations across devices.
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Old 06-18-2011, 03:14 AM   #5
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I wouldn't expect to see ePub3-compliant readers on the market for at least a year. The first thing that needs to happen I'd for Adobe to incorporate it into their SDK, and then for manufacturers to start using that revised SDK in their device firmware. That's not something that's going to happen overnight.
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Old 06-18-2011, 09:34 AM   #6
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My expectations are that Apple will be the first to market with full ePub3 support.
If they're still serious about ebooks, Sony will announce the next day for delivery at a future date; the improved suport for asian languages will force the announcement even if they have nothing to back it up with.
Vendors tied to Adobe's sdk will run at least two years behind apple and some will never deliver a quality epub3 product.
Of the software players, Overdrive will likely be the first with a compliant app based off Adobe code, say in 2013. Coolreader will likely schedule it for Coolreader4, not 3. Fbreader I doubt will even try for compliance, they'll just make sure the files open and are readable.

The things to understand about the epub3 spec is that:
- it patches several usability holes in its precursor spec
- it adds an entire new model of multimedia content and programability, trying to make bookapps and vooks and other proprietary "enhanced books" redundant
- it's greatest value for non-enhanced books will be in complex format content, like technical books and user manuals and most likely (finally!) push pdfs out of the ebook space. It might foster a viable academic ebook platform.
- some of the text-focused features will add real value to B&W eink readers but the bulk of the advanced features will favor color (likely lcd) displays. (Hence Apple's likely embrace.)
- added value to western recreational fiction readers will be minimal.
- it will bring a new level of forking to epub beyond the current DRM splinters as different vendors interpret the spec differently and tune their publishing tools and render engines differently.
- since epub currently has no significant enforcement powers it will take a while for the variant implementations to become fully interactive. I'm guessing 5 years.

Bottom line: if your reading needs are mostly/fully met by a PB360, you'll find little added value in epub3. If you are struggling to use a PB903 for technical/academic uses, you'll see big benefits in a future generation product. Anybody else will see some benefits but not soon.

Worth keeping an eye out but nothing to worry about.

Last edited by fjtorres; 06-18-2011 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 06-18-2011, 10:30 AM   #7
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It will, however, be hugely significant for the non-Western eBook market, since it finally adds proper support for right-to-left and top-to-bottom languages.
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Old 06-18-2011, 11:44 AM   #8
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Right to left? Why does this keep on being mentioned; wasn't it sorted already? Unicode pretty much covers it, and the integration with html was well defined by html4, over a decade ago.

I thought the internationalisation points were
  1. better support for documents in ideographic languages which may be have different layouts for vertical and horizontal text (though I don't know exactly why it's important to switch between them)
  2. mandatory suport for font embedding - which is great, but again nothing to do with right to left.
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Old 06-18-2011, 11:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sourcejedi View Post
Right to left? Why does this keep on being mentioned; wasn't it sorted already? Unicode pretty much covers it, and the integration with html was well defined by html4, over a decade ago.
Perhaps I'm wrong - I thought it was still an issue, but maybe not. I believe, though, that top-to-bottom is something that ePub 3 does add support for that's not supported at all at present.
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:14 PM   #10
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If you're correct Felix I think that Amazon made the correct decision by going proprietary. The advantage of an open standard should be that companies can compete on reader software and bring new features to the market faster yet still be able to play well with others. If the majority just sit back and wait for Adobe their new products will be DOA.
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:55 PM   #11
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HarryT: you're right. Looks like vertical text is new, part of CSS3 writing modes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barcey View Post
I'm looking forward to the ability to share reading location and bookmarks between ePub devices.
Interestingly, CFI's don't actually provide that. Or rather, it only helps if both devices can "see" the same epub file at the same URI - hosted online somewhere. They seem to have dropped the idea of custom "epub:" scheme URIs, which would have let you refer to an epub file with a given ID.

Unless they're still working on it, and I'm reading your post too pedantically
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Old 06-18-2011, 02:52 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
It will, however, be hugely significant for the non-Western eBook market, since it finally adds proper support for right-to-left and top-to-bottom languages.
Very likely.
It will also likely jumpstart the currently fumbling academic ebook market which is potentially enormous and even more profitable than recreational reading.
Just not soon.
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Old 06-18-2011, 03:17 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Barcey View Post
If you're correct Felix I think that Amazon made the correct decision by going proprietary. The advantage of an open standard should be that companies can compete on reader software and bring new features to the market faster yet still be able to play well with others. If the majority just sit back and wait for Adobe their new products will be DOA.
Historically, going back 60 years and more, proprietary solutions have innovated faster and deployed more smoothly than committee-baked standards, even the standards with actual compliance teeth, which epub doesn't have.

The only area where there has been something of a track record of commitee standards-based innovation is in telecommunications, but it is hardly absolute. (GOSIP!) Even GSM owes its success more to governmental strong-arming than to the quality of the original spec. (Pacemakers!)

As for ebooks, since Amazon has yet to move on implementing anything comparable to what epub3 might someday be, there is no way to tell if their approach will be more succesful or not. Theoretically, they could take the entire eub3 spec, embed it inside a mobi file and wrap it in a proprietary drm and call it kindle next and nobody could stop them.

The thing to remember is that consumers don't buy specs or APIs; they buy implmentations and solutions. Committees and pundits can talk all they want but in the end it is consumers who vote the winners with their wallets.
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Old 06-18-2011, 03:27 PM   #14
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For what it's worth, I tried the Moby Dick epub3 on my PB IQ.
- The PB reader opened it, displayed the cover and... Nothing else.
- FBreaderj just crashed to its own version of a screen of death.
- Aldiko 1.x imported it cleanly and started to open it. It then choked and said the file was DRMed, corrupted, or the battery was low. Right.
- Overdrive added it to its library and opened it and it worked fine. No TOC, as expected, but otherwise no issues.
- Coolreader 3 likewise found no TOC but performed fine.
Next time I have nothing to do I'll try it on the PB360.

Last edited by fjtorres; 06-18-2011 at 03:29 PM.
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Old 06-18-2011, 05:56 PM   #15
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- it's greatest value for non-enhanced books will be in complex format content, like technical books and user manuals and most likely (finally!) push pdfs out of the ebook space. It might foster a viable academic ebook platform.
I am so very much looking forward to mathematical formulas being available!
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