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Old 01-14-2009, 10:48 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Liviu_5 View Post
So is epub intended to be used like oeb
EPub is the next generation OEB. The .epub "container" is just a ZIP of all the files making up the ebook and like the original OEB it has an .opf metafile.

There were multiple goals for ePub. Publishers wanted a single master format to target (somewhat like using OEB as the master to LIT and MOBI). Readers wanted to use the format directly on their devices. One issue with "ePub direct to Reader" is that it is relatively resource heavy to render ePub to a screen. So the first crack in ePub standards are the limitations on file sizes imposed by Adobe Digital Editions for rendering on handheld devices (like the PRS 505). The alternative is to add an off-line ePub to device format step. MobiPocket appears to be following this route (which is allowed by the ePub standard). The problem that MobiPocket has is that MOBI is now seriously out of date, and isn't powerful enough to even come close to fully supporting ePub. The new oeb2mobi (really epub2mobi) capability in Calibre will be exploring how close MOBI can come to displaying ePub. A limitation that Calibre faces, though, is that the MOBI format needs to be updated to better support ePub and only MobiPocket can do this. Even MobiPocket will find this difficult, because they have to update multiple reader software packages for multiple device types.

EPub includes a specification of how to apply DRM to the ebook, but it does not standardize the DRM itself. So far only Adobe is adding DRM to ePub, but there is already talk of eReader DRM on ePub. For publishers this is ok, since it is the same ePub with multiple incompatible DRM schemes (provided downstream, for a charge, by a 3rd party). It is a nightmare for consumers though.
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:36 AM   #32
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My big question is what is the goal of epub?

(...)

The first who knows, it's possible but what do we gain from the current state other than more capabilities in the underground machinery that as a consumer I do not see anyway...

We would still have incompatible formats for various devices since that is not a technical issue but a social one.

Right now we could have all devices reading drm Mobipocket which is probably the easiest to adapt, if the will was there.
wallcraft has already addressed your question of what is the goal of epub, so i won't elaborate on that. i would add that standard formats are in everyone's best interests because :

- for publishers, it means a simplified workflow as they have only to produce *one* format, which can if necessary be converted to a different end format like mobipocket (even locally by the user), or can be read natively on some devices. this means that it will become easier and cheaper to produce ebooks, which should mean more ebooks being created.

- for bookstores it means simplified inventory management and file serving, since they could conceivably (one day) need to offer only one format which would be accessible to all readers.

- for readers, it means a much broader selection of ebooks available to them, either by reading the file natively (currently sony, iphone, soon jetbook, soon others as well) or by easily converting it (currently all mobipocket devices, eb1150...), and the end of ebabel and incompatible formats (again, leaving aside the problem of drm, which is not specific to epub).

- for readers (again) it also means a library of ebooks which is "future proof" ; if epub is a standard format, it means if today you buy a sony and build up a library of epub books you read on it, but next year you buy a different device, your library will still be accessible to you on the new device (which is not the case with closed, proprietary formats like lrf, imp, even mobipocket, etc.). in addition, epub is based on xhtml and css style rules ; this can be displayed by any web browser and a number of other applications.

currently it's true that mobipocket format is very widespread however i would not be satisfied with a mobipocket device ; the mobipocket format may be common but it's also out of date and flawed. css styles used by epub allow for much more complete formatting capabilities. for example, in epub you can "float" images inline with the text, this means you can have an image to one side of the screen with the text flowing along side it. in mobipocket, this is impossible : all images must be inserted in between two blocks of text. you can see three examples of this in the photos in this post. you can also make drop caps, which is impossible in mobipocket. epub also can use vectorial images (svg) and the capability to incorporate audio or video clips (or pretty much any file you want) already exists and will make for some really interesting multi-media enriched reference texts (for example) as soon as the viewers catch up.

in addition mobipocket uses outdated html code further modified with proprietary mobipocket code. this means that depending on which device / version of the viewer you use the results can be unpredictable. it also means that converting mobi format to another format will not give clean results and will need extensive further work. here is one explanation of why mobipocket format is inferior to epub. here is another. there are plenty more but i don't have time to search for them right now.
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Old 01-15-2009, 12:20 PM   #33
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- for readers, it means a much broader selection of ebooks available to them, either by reading the file natively (currently sony, iphone, soon jetbook, soon others as well) or by easily converting it (currently all mobipocket devices, eb1150...), and the end of ebabel and incompatible formats (again, leaving aside the problem of drm, which is not specific to epub).
Two great posts above and I truly appreciate them, but the above paragraph is just a pipe-dream in my opinion. Drm-free, yeah, but then we have html, rtf, txt, pdf already, and while epub is more sophisticated from what I understand, it's just a matter of degree. And the technical problems with device rendering are still there as I saw it first hand on my 700, where epub is pdf like in speed and then why not use reflowable pdf, what do I gain? I can convert faster to reflowable pdf with open_office_org. And the 700 is a powerful device as e-reading ones go...

I sort of believe that this technical limitations will be overcome but the drm issue is social and economic and there is where I think epub as universal standard is just a pipe dream...

I profoundly doubt that you will be able to read drm epub on any device. I just do not think that drm works that way - not technically of course, but socially and economically
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Old 01-15-2009, 12:38 PM   #34
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I found another site that looks promising called Symtio http://www.symtio.com

About Symtio
Symtio is the first multi-channel digital media platform for retail. With Symtio, customers purchase eBooks, audiobooks, and soon music and movies, in-store and download them from anywhere they have an internet connection. It’s the link between digital media and the retail experience...


I contacted the company because the nearest retailer wasn't very near and also because I could only search by zip code and not by state. I received this quick response:



P.S. I also received a complimentary *e-copy* of Karen Kingsbury's "Between
Sundays" for setting up an account!

*correction* It was a free audiobook. I'm sorry for the misinformation.
Addendum: I contacted Symtio customer service and asked them if I could have the ebook version as my freebie, instead of the audiobook. She happily exchanged the audio for the ebook for me. I also purchased my first two ebooks from the site and it was a smooth and easy transaction (especially considering that I am a newbie)! Right now I think they have more audio versions of books to choose from than ebook versions, but hopefully that area will grow!
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Old 01-15-2009, 04:02 PM   #35
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Two great posts above and I truly appreciate them, but the above paragraph is just a pipe-dream in my opinion.
i prefer the term "optimism." but seriously, i don't think it will happen overnight but i do think it will happen eventually. i think that in some cases the epub will be converted (mobipocket, imp...) but if the conversion is accomplished "invisibly" in the background the first time you open the file, as mobipocket reader does, then to the end user there's not a significant difference.

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Drm-free, yeah, but then we have html, rtf, txt, pdf already, and while epub is more sophisticated from what I understand, it's just a matter of degree.
well, i guess you can put it that way, but there's a pretty huge difference between any of those and epub, so much so that i don't even see the point of comparing it to, say, txt. and pdf being a format specifically designed for *print* it has some very obvious shortcomings when used as an ebook format, even when it is formatted for a small screen. you *can* compare it to html, because it's based on html + css, but even in that case it brings more sophisticated possibilities than html alone.

Quote:
And the technical problems with device rendering are still there as I saw it first hand on my 700, where epub is pdf like in speed and then why not use reflowable pdf, what do I gain? I can convert faster to reflowable pdf with open_office_org. And the 700 is a powerful device as e-reading ones go...
i'm not really sure what you mean by that. epub is very fast for me, the majority of what i'm reading is epub and i've no problems with delays in page turns or opening the books. pdf is acceptably fast as well, however the pdfs i've tried gave me an inferior experience because of their specific limitations : it's great to be able to reflow pdf if you're obliged to, but when you do that you lose some formatting of the page. i'd much rather read a format which is conceived specifically to be reflowable, rather than has reflow capability hacked into it after the fact. as for creating epub books, using calibre, i can create an epub for my own use with minimal effort in a few seconds from practically any other format. if i want to start from scratch and make a really nice quality epub it takes a bit longer but that is true of any format. i've not tried creating a pdf with open office but i imagine it's comparable or longer.

Quote:
I sort of believe that this technical limitations will be overcome but the drm issue is social and economic and there is where I think epub as universal standard is just a pipe dream...

I profoundly doubt that you will be able to read drm epub on any device. I just do not think that drm works that way - not technically of course, but socially and economically
here, i agree with you : one of the really big problems with ebooks currently is drm. BUT 1. that's not limited to epub, 2. it doesn't prevent you from reading non-drm files (if i want to buy a drm book, which i try to avoid when possible, i buy lit format, remove the drm, and convert this to epub) and 3. just like drm is being abandoned on digital music, i am really convinced it's only a matter of time before we manage to get rid of it on ebooks as well. how much time, i don't know ; hopefully it won't take as long as it took the music industry. we will see. and once ebooks are sold without drm (which is *already* the case for certain publishers !), then there is nothing stopping you from reading epub on whatever device you want.
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Old 01-15-2009, 04:28 PM   #36
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Regarding slowness maybe it's just that the epub's I made with Calibre were not that great since Calibre is a work in progress after all - though truly wonderful

I sort of agree that *eventually* we will move beyond drm, but that *eventually* will involve hard external pressure on the publishers the way p2p forced the music labels hand, and I am not sure where it will come from.

Before my 770 was Mobi capable, I avoided that format, then I was happy with it, while on the 700 I am happy with lrf for now, but as/if epub matures and tools become better, I have nothing against using it.

When I had the Eb1150, I bought the librarian software and happily converted lots of books to imp so whatever works I use, no "format bias" here.

My original skepticism about epub is that I've been hearing these claims of universality for a while, and in the meantime, guess what, Sony came with another proprietary format, Amazon with another pseudo-format (the renamed Mobi with its own drm servers), Ereader is still going strong with FW, Lit is also going strong, only embiid seems to have died and imp is limping unless ETI comes up with a modern Eb1150-like device
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Old 01-15-2009, 08:57 PM   #37
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Regarding slowness maybe it's just that the epub's I made with Calibre were not that great since Calibre is a work in progress after all - though truly wonderful
of course any app that brings out new versions practically every day is a "work in progress" and the epub support is officially beta ; it's nonetheless already really good and definitely good enough for personal use (i speak from experience). i don't know how recently you tried it or what sort of file you were reading (novel, rss feed, manga...) but you should definitely check it again. you can also try some of the books in our spanking new epub forum (yay !), some of which have been hand-coded, some of which created with calibre, others using different methods. i've found them to be really nice to read.
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I sort of agree that *eventually* we will move beyond drm, but that *eventually* will involve hard external pressure on the publishers the way p2p forced the music labels hand, and I am not sure where it will come from.
well, please remember that as a consumer and ebook reader the pressure can come at least partially from *you*. you can write to publishers and tell them you hate drm (and why) and prefer drm-free ebooks. you can vote with your pocketbook, as they say, and support publishers making drm-free books available (there are some already). and i see you live in new york : i hope you've written to the FTC commission about DRM.
Quote:
Before my 770 was Mobi capable, I avoided that format, then I was happy with it, while on the 700 I am happy with lrf for now, but as/if epub matures and tools become better, I have nothing against using it.

When I had the Eb1150, I bought the librarian software and happily converted lots of books to imp so whatever works I use, no "format bias" here.
that's good news. epub should let you use whatever format you prefer, and also ensure that if you want to re-read your books on a different device, they will still be accessible to you. i'm sure you know that this is not possible with many formats (imp !). this is one of the biggest reasons i'm in favor of epub ; i hate the idea of an ebook being lost to me because it's in a closed, proprietary, and obsolete format. every time i made an imp format book i always kept my source files, for that reason.
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My original skepticism about epub is that I've been hearing these claims of universality for a while, and in the meantime, guess what, Sony came with another proprietary format, Amazon with another pseudo-format (the renamed Mobi with its own drm servers), Ereader is still going strong with FW, Lit is also going strong, only embiid seems to have died and imp is limping unless ETI comes up with a modern Eb1150-like device.
yes, you are right, there are too many formats currently, and amazon creating yet *another* (closed, proprietary...) one, when they own mobipocket already, is the major reason i wouldn't buy a kindle even if i lived in the US (the other reason being, no epub support, of course. ).

that's another reason i think it's important to garner support from all quarters for epub early on, so it will gain momentum quickly as a standard. the more people adopting it early, the more popular it becomes, the more seriously even the epub-refractories will be obliged to take it, and the closer we really will get to one universal format. it's off to an excellent start already, but every little bit helps.

if you want a robust, future-proof, universal, standard ebook format (and really, how could you not ?), then i think the best way to show that is to start using the one we actually have already, even though it's still in development.
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Old 01-16-2009, 02:35 AM   #38
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there seems to be more info compiled in this one little thead about Epub than the entire rest of the internet.

you make alot of good points on this topic.
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Old 01-16-2009, 09:02 AM   #39
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there seems to be more info compiled in this one little thead about Epub than the entire rest of the internet.

you make alot of good points on this topic.
Agreed ; excellent informative posts about epub, cleared up some of my misgivings, so I will give it another try next I convert a book for the 700.

I will try again both lrf and epub and see if the "nicer" look of epub compensates for the loss of speed compared to the lrf.
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Old 01-16-2009, 09:06 AM   #40
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thanks, it's really nice to hear that.

and you've both made me think, i'm sure plenty of people don't realise why epub is important. i think i'll copy this conversation to a new sticky somewhere for reference.

cheers to both of you !
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Old 01-16-2009, 09:22 AM   #41
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thanks for the really interesting discussion. i've copied this conversation into a new reference sticky. i plan to add useful info to it as i come across it. the next time someone says to you "why should i care about epub ?" please direct them over there.

go epub !
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Old 01-23-2009, 03:33 PM   #42
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Old 01-23-2009, 03:40 PM   #43
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I'll be honest, I'm certainly not opposed to epub, but I don't see it as the ultimate solution to producing ebooks either. Actually, I think the problem has more to do with hardware than it does with software. The screens used to display ebooks are just too small.

If for example you are designing a book of poetry then you will have lines wrap because the screen is too small, and there isn't much you can do about it -- no matter what software you use. The current e-readers work fine for novels and similar types of books, but virtually any book that requires special formatting is going to be hampered by screen size limitations far more than they are by software limitations.

Once we have screens capable of displaying letter or A4 sized pages then I still doubt I will be demanding epub support, but instead will want PDF support. That's my 2 cents anyway.
i'm not sure what any of that has to do with epub.
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Old 01-23-2009, 03:49 PM   #44
Daithi
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Sorry Zelda,

I need to pay more attention.
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Old 01-23-2009, 05:47 PM   #45
pilotbob
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daithi View Post
Sorry Zelda,

I need to pay more attention.
Perhaps you just can't afford to. We know times are tough all over.
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epub, why epub = best format

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