A Maturing Ebook Market
Apple’s growing presence in the ebook market, along with wide adoption of highly capable tablets and e-readers, has led some book publishers to consider embedding rich media in their ebooks. File sizes resulting from embedding rich media can be substantial, although that is less of a concern, according to respondents.
Control over the user experience can be limited, however, by the capabilities provided by the ebook format of choice or the target device. For 76 percent of book publisher respondents, Adobe PDF is the format of choice for their ebooks, followed closely by EPUB (68 percent). While PDF supports some interactive elements, the wide variety of devices and platforms makes it a challenge to deliver consistent experiences from a single-source file. EPUB, on the other hand, allows for text reflow, enables the reader to control font formats and sizes, and natively supports rich media such as video, music, graphics and animation.
Leveraging EPUB can help book publishers meet their key priorities with ebook production and distribution. Switching to a new format such as EPUB is not as easy as converting a print PDF if user experience is a priority. It requires an evaluation of the workflow to keep production as simple and efficient as possible. Another major challenge for book publishers is the lack of EPUB support by Amazon, as the Kindle devices are a major source for ebook consumers. In 2011, rumors emerged that Amazon would be supporting the EPUB format in its Kindle devices; however, so far this hasn’t happened. Currently, however, Apple iOS devices, Android devices and the Barnes & Noble NOOK support EPUB.
Testing Mobile Devices for Optimal Experience
With the wide variety of mobile devices and deliverable formats available on the market, it can be quite difficult to ensure a consistent user experience on every device. Devices vary in screen size and resolution, and support a range of capabilities and features. As a result, it is beneficial for publishers to test their content on the most common devices used by readers. Testing gives book publishers a clear picture of how their publications render on each device, helping ensure a solid user experience and encouraging brainstorming on new functionality that could be added.