O'Reilly Labs Finds Space for ePUB Bookworms
Digital Rights Management announced for more mobile gadgets
William Pollard (will789)
Published 2009-02-20 10:59 (KST)
Announced during the
The ePUB format is a zipped file that contains pages in XHTML, a version of HTML as used in most web pages that is more XML friendly. Graphics can include SVG, easily scaled and another open standard. Other files control the way that a contents page is displayed. Some programs already create an ePUB file from a blog or RSS feed.
Liza Daly , a developer for Bookworm, recently spoke to Kat Meyer for the Teleread blog:
Standards mean I can jump right in and build something interesting rather than having to begin from scratch. I got started with e-books because I wanted to write some software that could take content in one format and automatically export to multiple other formats. I stumbled on ePub, read the spec, and in just a few days I had working code. The fact that ePub reuses other standards meant that many of the tools I needed to build my specific application already existed. Without ePub as a standard, I might’ve still been wondering how to format a paragraph in the time it took to build a whole e-book platform.
Since last July when ePUB was supported in the Sony Reader the surprise has been how many people are interested in reading ePUB on a mobile phone with a backlit screen. Stanza software for the iPhone has been downloaded over a million times, probably more than the unit sales of the Kindle during 2008.
The Wikipedia explains that electronic paper "reflects light like ordinary paper and is capable of holding text and images indefinitely without drawing electricity." All the dedicated devices such as the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader use a form of electronic paper. The strain on eyesight is much less than with a backlit screen. However they are still expensive and it seems many people are prepared to use a phone display instead.
Most of the interest in Barcelona was about music and video on mobile devices. Apple have not offered an approach to e-books so the number of downloads for Stanza may be a surprise. Adobe concentrated on Flash for rich media and there are some unanswered questions around products based on text. Comments on the O'Reilly Tools of Change
However the file formats and authoring software develops there is the clear potential for global distribution of literary resources. The world of books may adjust more slowly but there is already acceptance of digital options by people working on newspapers and magazines. At the Publishing Expo held in London
©2009 Guardian Media Group
This story appeared first on the Printweek website though the print version has more detail. There has not yet been a similar statement from Haymarket, publishers of Printweek, on how they see the future for magazines.