The new version of the standard format for electronic publications

Increased possibilities with EPUB3

Through innovative publications, the specification 3 version of EPub is beginning to expand, having already been released in November 2011. Since Epub2 has become the standard for providing the complete and correct display of electronic books on readers and software, from specialised APPs to browser plug-ins, the support for interactive and multimedia features on readers has risen. In the EPub3 specification, HTML5 replaces the previous XHTML and offers new multimedia possibilities that are near-revolutionary compared to the previous set of functions, which were only possible with proprietary solutions until then.

image Technologies in EPUB3

In addition to audio, speech (TextToSpeech) and video editions, HTML5 with CSS 3.0 offers very flexible, interactive and dynamic output options, such as through the canvas object using JavaScript. By means of simple SMIL statements, it is possible to synchronise text and multimedia elements. For example, audio books, diagrams, selectable map sections, etc. are possible as long as they are supported by the reading device’s software. The highest quality through scalability of graphics and formulae is offered by technologies included in EPub3 , such as SVG or MathML. Pop-up windows and a footnote display are also amongst the benefits of the expanded technical possibilities, such as by using the aside tags in HTML5 and the epub:type attribute specific to EPub3 Optimal use of CSS 3.0 allows for more varied and typographically appealing presentation, which should be defined differently according to device.

Container format for metadata, navigation and content

An EPub b file is essentially a ‘packed web page’ with additional information. The EPub format provides meta information and information on the navigation within documents as a container alongside the content of a publication, in order to allow an optimised display and uninterrupted reading flow. Specifications on the desired rendering can also influence the display towards a fixed layout . Metainformation can now be specified more easily in the OPF (Open Packaging Format) file using meta elements. External meta information is also possible (like ONIX data sets). Navigating via NCX files is considered outdated, so using an EPub Navigation Document (END) makes it possible to use a simpler HTML list structure. Types of lists of figures or tables can also be defined this way. HTML5 offers further possibilities for highlighting semantic classification within documents, such as in chapters by using section elements or magazine articles by using article elements.

& lt; meta refines = "# ID12345" property = "prism: contentType" & gt; article & lt; / meta & gt;
& lt; meta property = "dc: title" id = "t4main" & gt;
Revision: Inadequate duration of a tax court procedure. Restriction
of the legal consequences on the determination of the delay
& lt; / meta & gt;
& lt; meta refines = "# t4main" property = "title-type" & gt; main & lt; / meta & gt;
& lt; meta property = "dc: title" id = "t4sub" & gt;
Becomes an FG in a simple lawsuit
between the receipt of the last submission of one of the Bet.
and the organization of the hearing five and a half
For years - apart from a file request and
of a short request to the client - not active, the duration of the procedure is
to be considered inappropriate.
& lt; / meta & gt;
& lt; meta refines = "# t4sub" property = "title-type" & gt; guideline & lt; / meta & gt;
& lt; meta refines = "# ID12345" property = "dc: creator" & gt; BFH judgment & lt; / meta & gt;
& lt; meta refines = "# ID12345" property = "prism: genre" & gt; Decision & lt; / meta & gt;
& lt; meta refines = "# ID12345" property = "CHBeck: enhancer" & gt; Beck Media Solutions & lt; / meta & gt;
& lt; meta refines = "# ID12345" property = "CHBeck: checker" & gt; rs & lt; / meta & gt;
Example for specifying metadata for an invented magazine article

Backwards compatibility

A best practice in publication is to offer fallbacks for backwards compatibility, for instance by defining pixel graphics as an alternative – despite the use of something like JavaScript, SVG or MathML. It is essential that multimedia content undergoes intensive testing with the intended target devices before it is released. Examples of EPUB3 publications are available online.

Available readers and software

Publishers have tremendous opportunities available for publishing and linking multimedia content and text. However, the success of new innovative concepts requires the distribution of suitable reading devices. Here it is to be expected that a market will arise through the capabilities of mobile devices paired with the appropriate software. Likewise, browsers are always coming up with improved functions. At the moment, however, there is no product on the market that supports EPUB3 in an ideal or complete way. It is nevertheless advisable to seize the opportunity to make maximum use of the technical possibilities to make a publication as an e-book more valuable.

Amazon : Despite the proprietary format, a converter from EPub3 to KF8 is offered

Apple : supports essential parts of the EPub3 features with iBooks

Google : no support from EPub 3. But the Play Books Reader relies internally on the Readium platform (IPDF), so an improvement in support can be expected in the medium-term

Adobe : doesn’t offer any further EPub 3 support for E-Ink Reader firmware, but this is to be expected

Support from large suppliers of EPub3

Introductions, overviews and samples