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Old 04-22-2012, 06:20 AM   #1
stayinwonderland
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Total epub newbie - few preliminary questions

Hi guys,

So the situation is that I'd like to create my own ebooks and I stumbled across the epub3 format which would allow me to put some audio/video into the pages. Cool.

I then dug around to find out how one does this and basically I'm trying to figure out if I'm cut out for epub3 stuff.

What I can do:
- html
- css
- flash/video/audio etc
- illustration
- book formatting/desktop publication/typesetting

What I can't or won't do (probably):
- xhtml
- html5
- any tricky code that will have me tearing my hair out

So could someone brief me on the level of difficulty in making a book in epub3 format where I'd want to embed the odd video or flash. Nothing too fancy??

Thanks!
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:03 AM   #2
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You are almost there. The differences between html and xhtml are slim, but essential. However, if you know html, that will not be an issue.

The main difficulty is that there is hardly any reader which supports ePUB v3. The readers that do support this, have different ways of implementing audio/video although there are some commonalities. Apple has adapted the ePUB v3 to support certain stuff, but it is not real ePUB anymore.

Embedding is not that difficult I believe, but you have to test it on all v3 readers to see if it works. The format is still too new.

Personally I don't see added value in audio/video for the bigger part. I can see some limited benefit in special case books, but even there I never missed it. If you need audio/video, it might be better to create an app for it.
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:53 AM   #3
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Hmm, interesting. Well thanks for clearing that up.

So would you recommend sticking to standard epub and/or PDF for now and wait for the technology to catch up for things like video/audio?

Thanks again.
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:26 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stayinwonderland View Post
So would you recommend sticking to standard epub and/or PDF for now and wait for the technology to catch up for things like video/audio?
Yes, he's right. Most of the readers used to display epub have a monochrome, slow eink display, which can't be used for Video. Embedding some Audio should be possible (but is not supported in most cases).

Apple goes it's own way as usual (they have the hardware to do that). Maybe there will be or there already is s a solution for Android. And there is a small number of devices (i. e.Trekstore) which use a fast color display (but don't support epub3). Which System will you prefer to diplay your epub3's?

I think, it will not be a difficult job to embed some multimedia-sources into an epub for someone who has already mastered the epub-basics. So if you want a recommondation, then I would suggest to start with epub2 (which ist not on your list of "i can do...")

Last edited by mmat1; 04-22-2012 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 04-22-2012, 11:06 AM   #5
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Ok, so is audio maybe available in epub2? I'm not even sure what the current platforms can do i.e. do new kindles etc. have speakers?

So I guess I should stick to the basics for now and implement multimedia when the hardware/platforms can unify a bit.

Quick question. If I wanted to make a picture book for younger children, is that a real pain because of the text reflow issue? In such books you might have one large illustration spanning a spread with a block of text placed in a particular and specific place. The text reflowing might mess up the page design Vs a static PDF?

My guess is that most epub books are basic pages full of text and maybe an isolated illustration occupying just a page by itself? I haven't come across anything more sophisticated than that.
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Old 04-22-2012, 01:40 PM   #6
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Audio isn't available in epub2 and the same restrictions are valid. However, since there are less possible ways to incorporate sound, you stand a better chance it is supported in a v3 reader. Reader programs on tables might be able to do audio, standalone certainly not.

You are correct concerning image heavy books. Due to the reflow, you cannot exactly position the images in the texts.

If you are looking for more sophisticated ePUB, take a look in the book section. You will be surprised what can be done. Take a look of 'Alice in Wonderland' or 'Three man in a boat'.
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Old 04-23-2012, 01:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stayinwonderland View Post
Ok, so is audio maybe available in epub2? I'm not even sure what the current platforms can do i.e. do new kindles etc. have speakers?
To get me right: Audio (mp3) is supported by most readers hardware and OS, but not as embedded files within epub2.1, separate, independent files only.
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Old 04-23-2012, 05:06 PM   #8
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And, Kindles don't support ePub, anyway.
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Old 04-23-2012, 05:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stayinwonderland View Post
Quick question. If I wanted to make a picture book for younger children, is that a real pain because of the text reflow issue? In such books you might have one large illustration spanning a spread with a block of text placed in a particular and specific place. The text reflowing might mess up the page design Vs a static PDF?
This can be best done with fixed layout ePubs or Kindle KF8 books. You can find a Kindle example with source files on the Kindle KF8 page. (You'll also need to download the Kindle Previewer.) For fixed layout ePubs see this web site.
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Old 04-23-2012, 05:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doitsu View Post
This can be best done with fixed layout ePubs or Kindle KF8 books. You can find a Kindle example with source files on the Kindle KF8 page. (You'll also need to download the Kindle Previewer.) For fixed layout ePubs see this web site.
Cool, that sounds good. Thanks
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:17 PM   #11
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And, Kindles don't support ePub, anyway.
They certainly do not support it as a reader but they do support ePub as a source format and KF8 is nothing more that a compiled ePub with different DRM.
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Old 04-24-2012, 02:08 AM   #12
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Be aware that fixed layout ePUB only works in iBooks. It is something created/changed/adapted by Apple.
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Old 04-24-2012, 11:05 AM   #13
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Be aware that fixed layout ePUB only works in iBooks. It is something created/changed/adapted by Apple.
Actually there are several fixed layout ePub formats. They are all covered in our wiki. Kobo supports the same format as Apple uses. There is an emerging part of ePub 3 that supports this as well. I would expect some conformance at some point although the format used by KF8 is widely different.

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