EPUB in the Wild

Elizabeth Castro (self-employed)
Make Broadway North
This presentation will be streamed live.
Presentation: EPUB in the Wild Presentation [PDF]
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The balance between internet standards and innovation has always been a tenuous one. Browser or ereader manufacturers want to showcase their product and the special things it can do and don’t necessarily want to embrace or restrict themselves to a list of features that others can replicate. But designers and publishers don’t want to have to create—or finance and keep track of—separate versions of a book for what the public imagines should be very similar containers.

In this session, we’re going to look at the cool new stuff that works in EPUB— things like audio, video, multimedia in general, javascript, interactivity, read aloud, soundtracks, and more— in ereaders already on the market, right now. Some of these features blatantly spit in the eye of standards, and others skate right up to the edge of what’s allowed.

We’ll also point out some features from the EPUB3 spec that are not yet supported (and may never be) and talk about the fact that what a standards body says should work in compliant readers and what actually works, or their method of implementation, is often quite different.

In conclusion we’ll give some strategies for deciding when to rely on standards, when it’s worthwhile to stray from them, in order to find the balance between taking advantage of the most interesting innovations without drowning in the work necessary to reproduce them on several different platforms.

Photo of Elizabeth Castro

Elizabeth Castro


Bestselling author of books on EPUB, HTML, CSS, Blogger, Perl and CGI, and more.

Currently self-publishing a series of miniguides on advanced features of EPUB as well as a collection of books about Catalonia in English.

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Gary DeVaan
01/04/2012 7:41am EST

Hi Elizabeth, We are a small association that publish two monthly magazines. We have been looking into making the mags available for the iPad without making them impossible to publish on other devices. Our mags are created in-house using InDesign, and we would like to bring the digital side in house also, however we are not adverse to using a service. The only possible glitch is the magazines are member newsletters so we do not want to distribute digital versions to the public and prefer to host on our website if possible. I’m asking for any advice in looking for software or vendors. Is one production path becoming more standard? Anything I should stay away from? Is there a standard in software to convert InDesign files? Should we look for an ePub3 or HTML 5 solution?

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