Your eBooks are about to get a lot noisier and and a lot more interactive.
The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) met today in Frankfurt, and the assembled members voted to accept the current Epub3 spec as final. This move will pave the way for developers, eBook creators, and eBookstores to start getting ready for the new and best eBook format to hit the market.
The Epub3 spec is based on HTML5, and it makes use of the latest in interactive content, rich media (audio, video), and global lauguage support. “EPUB has become the industry standard format for digital publications based on Web Standards that are structured, reliable, device-independent, and accessible,” said BIll McCoy, Executive Director, IDPF. “As digital publications evolve from digitized text into enhanced eBooks and new forms of expression, EPUB 3 will dramatically expand the ability of authors and publishers to deliver richer experiences to their readers across disparate devices, in browsers and in apps.”
So what does this mean for readers? Not too much, today. Right now there aren’t any tools to make Epub3 eBooks (it’s largely being done by hand at the moment), and there aren’t any eBook readers which support the format. There is one app that suppports some of the details of Epub3 (iBooks), but it’s not clear yet how iBooks differs from the official spec.
We won’t see much in the way of Epub3 eBooks until more tools are released. But even when the eBooks hit the virtual shelves, we will still probably have to wait for the apps and eReaders to be updated. No current eReader supports Epub3, and they’ll need a firmware update before they do.
Unfortunately, a number of eReaders probably won’t be getting that update. For example, Sony has a reputation for not updating their past models, so if you don’t have a Sony Reader PSR-T1 you’re out of luck.