EPUB 3: A Foundation For the Future
The vision for EPUB is similarly broad, says McCoy. And despite the success of tools like the PDF, he's also witnessed the limitations of a single vendor holding the keys to technology: namely, the failure of Adobe Flash to become a truly horizontal platform. "You need something that's open and interoperable because if it's controlled by one company, the chances of them having the scale to make it work everywhere are lower. I was one of the first pro-HTML5 heretics at Adobe, but I don't think it had anything to do with the technical side of Flash. It was simply that Adobe had a small team versus the HTML world having four different browser code bases and tens of thousands of developers all working together and experimenting with different open source things. As the open source world would say, 'the bazaar beats the cathedral,' because the bazaar just has a lot more scale."
Before joining the IDPF as executive director in January of 2011, McCoy served two terms on the IDPF Board of Directors, playing a key role in the development of the EPUB standard. His priority now is to fulfill the promise of EPUB 3 as a true universal standard for the publishing industry as a whole. "Even though ebooks had been the first place that EPUB was established, the time is right for a horizontal format for digital publications that isn't tied to replicating paper, that is more dynamic."
Here McCoy discusses why he sees great opportunity for EPUB to enhance digital publishing and who may find success in a post-paper world.
Where in the publishing industry do you see the greatest opportunity for EPUB 3 to take off?
During the last year it's become clear that one of the key needs for going beyond the simpler "text-centric" kind of ebooks is in the e-textbook space. In e-textbooks, or more generally digital content for learning, it's very critical that the content be interactive, that it's able to have media enhancements like audio and video. If you're learning about algebra, being able to actually type numbers into an equation is very important. So all the rich media, interactive features that weren't in the original EPUB but are in EPUB 3 thanks to HTML5 are directly applicable to the learning environment.
Denis Wilson was previously content director for Target Marketing, Publishing Executive, and Book Business, as well as the FUSE Media and BRAND United summits. In this role, he analyzed and reported on the fundamental changes affecting the media and marketing industries and aimed to serve content-driven businesses with practical and strategic insight. As a writer, Denis’ work has been published by Fast Company, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and The New York Times.