Book Business Extra Q&A—Nick Bogaty, executive director of the International Digital Publishing Forum
The Executive Director of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) Nick Bogaty speaks with Book Business Extra about the International Digital Publishing Forum’s (IDPF) work to help standardize digital publishing. In late November, the trade association joined forces with the Association of American Publishers (AAP) to help educate book publishers on the background of the new industrywide technical standards IDPF is introducing for digital content delivery.
Book Business Extra: From what you saw at November’s meeting at the AAP, how are book publishers catching on to the standardization of eBooks?
Nick Bogaty: Publishers, especially trade publishers, have long created their XML eBooks in Open e-book (OEB) format. OEB was first released by the IDPF (then Open eBook Forum) in 1999. That latest version 1.2 was released in 2002. There are tens of thousand of eBooks in OEB now, and production of this XML format is pretty ingrained in the workflows of trade publishers and some academic publishers. OEB is largely used now as an interchange format to export to end consumer proprietary formats. Publishers basically hold their XML OEB files in a database and convert as necessary to final delivery formats.
The current standards efforts in the IDPF with the Open eBook Publication Structure Container (OCF) and the next version of OEB—named OPS or Open Publication Structure—is for publishers to be able to send one package into distribution, which implemented reading systems would either “light-out” convert, that is without human intervention, into an end-consumer proprietary format or simply read the OPS file natively in their software—much as your iPod would “read” MP3 files.
What were some of the questions raised by the publishers who attended?
Bogaty: There were a number of questions about reading system implementations of the specs. Mobipocket, Adobe and eBook Technologies Inc. demonstrated passing an OPS file in an OCF container between reading systems. All three reading systems natively read the file and displayed it aka cross-platform interoperability.