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Old 06-25-2009, 09:28 PM   #1
Nate the great
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the metaphysics of Epub

I'm beginning to question why Epub should be adopted over the other formats. I have a question that I hope someone can answer.

What is it about Epub that makes it better than all the other formats, and which can't be done with a web browser?

Or, here is another question: how is Epub greater than the sum of its parts?
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Old 06-26-2009, 04:41 AM   #2
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Because it is designed as a standard. There is a specification of what must be supported by ePUB.

You could probably get the same (or more) features if you just create an HTML file with CSS, and a text file with metadata, and package everything in a RAR file, but then you'll have to find a reader that can deal with that, and other people might use a different format (different metadata, TeX instead of HTML, tar.bz2 instead of RAR...). Having something standardized is a good thing.

It is better than the sum of its part, because it is not only the sum of its parts, but the interaction between them and the security of the main format being fixed.

An important reason (in my view) to prefer ePUB over other formats is that ePUB books can very easily be edited and modifed without altering the rest of the book or degrading it in any way. At least DRM-free ePUBs.
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Old 06-26-2009, 12:30 PM   #3
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What Jellby said.
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Old 06-26-2009, 01:11 PM   #4
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Font embedding. If it only weren't so bloody hard.

Theoretically, if the hardware providers would provide us with a way to address the players, music could be embedded into it as well. All those boring music history texts could come to (whatever) life (they could possibly have). Maybe in the 2.0 spec.

If a reader could be built to actually view true docx files, or archives of docx files, these things could also be had. I know, I know, evil. Can't resist yet another opportunity to bring up evil.

Electronic musical instrument developers went through the same growing pains 25 years ago when they developed MIDI. And that spec has nevr really gone onto further development - there's still vast doves of things one could do with mdi if one only had the wherewithal to connect all the dots. Er, notes....


The tools for building epubs still ain't great - when the manufacture of complex epubs gets more ubiquitous, the "why-vs-why-not" debates will become less important - 'cause if it's easy, etc etc.

-bjc
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Old 06-26-2009, 04:38 PM   #5
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What is it about Epub that makes it better than all the other formats
  • because with ePub i can create an ebook just with a text editor and a zip tool without depending on special software tools
  • the spec is open, no non-disclosure agreements or reverse engineering required
  • ePub offers a very good balance between complexity and supported features
  • One solution (to rule them all ): content, meta data, publication packaging (container)
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Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
and which can't be done with a web browser?
All the rendering stuff could be done with a web browser. With some effort a browser could support publication packaging, navigation, font embedding and enhanced meta data too.
From my point of view a ePub reading system *is* already a enhanced (and simultaneously also a crippled) web browser.
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Old 06-26-2009, 06:39 PM   #6
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Font embedding. If it only weren't so bloody hard.
Mobipocket does it the easy way. It supports the font tag, and uses fonts from your devices fonts folder.
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:55 PM   #7
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Font embedding. If it only weren't so bloody hard.
Actually, I find ePub's font embedding to be very very easy.
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:56 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
Mobipocket does it the easy way. It supports the font tag, and uses fonts from your devices fonts folder.
And if you jump forward and miss the font tag, your font won't be displayed. Mobipocket is rather buggy in this regard.
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:56 PM   #9
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The biggest reason to support ePub is that it has nothing whatsoever to do with Amazon.
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Old 06-26-2009, 08:10 PM   #10
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Actually, I find ePub's font embedding to be very very easy.
Me too.
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Old 06-27-2009, 08:27 AM   #11
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Font embedding in ePub is easier then any other eBook format.
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Old 06-27-2009, 09:01 AM   #12
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Indeed, font embedding is almost trivial, one need only include the font files in the package and add the @font-face CSS instructions.

Now, whether automatic ePUB creation programs and ePUB readers support font embedding, that's another matter.
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Old 06-27-2009, 09:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Indeed, font embedding is almost trivial, one need only include the font files in the package and add the @font-face CSS instructions.

Now, whether automatic ePUB creation programs and ePUB readers support font embedding, that's another matter.
And then in the appropriate place, specify the font-family and line-height (if needed).

Speaking of line-height... when using Fontin as the base font, if I specify a line-height of 110%, it fixes the problem is the first line with a drop cap having too much space.
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Old 06-27-2009, 09:57 AM   #14
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And then in the appropriate place, specify the font-family and line-height (if needed).
Yes, but that's the usual stuff for non-embedded fonts (although it shouldn't be used with non-embedded fonts in ePUB).
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Old 06-27-2009, 10:36 AM   #15
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Yes, but that's the usual stuff for non-embedded fonts (although it shouldn't be used with non-embedded fonts in ePUB).
Why not? Can't you use font-family to specify serif vs sans-serif vs mono?
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