Digital Publishing: Are You Getting the Most Out of EPUB 3?
Finally, Real Design!
More than any other feature, it is probably EPUB 3’s enhanced typographic and layout capabilities that have made it so attractive to publishers who had sat on the sidelines for EPUB 2: publishers of textbooks, magazines, cookbooks, children’s books and other highly designed content. With EPUB 3, you can take advantage of the wealth of typographic and layout control offered by CSS3. This includes better control of fonts, hyphenation, spacing and even multicolumn layout that is so valuable on tablets.
Two aspects of this are particularly important — multiple style sheets and media queries. The media queries feature of CSS3 provides two very useful attributes. The “import” attribute allows you to create modular style sheets instead of one mammoth all-encompassing style sheet, and it also enables you to control which style sheet is used in which environment (for example, one for devices that provide color display and one for devices that don’t). The “media” attribute enables you to make your style definitions within a style sheet responsive to the characteristics of the display — for example, to different screen sizes for laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Because we have become so accustomed to audio and video on the Web, publishers increasingly want to enrich their content with multimedia. EPUB 3 is designed for this, using HTML5’s
The commitment to aligning with HTML5 created one big headache for EPUB 3 though: HTML5 hasn’t settled on a single video codec (how the video is actually encoded). After extensive (and painful!) debate, EPUB 3.0 had no choice but to leave that issue unresolved. Doing otherwise would risk diverging from HTML5. However, the EPUB spec recommends, as a best practice, using either H.264 or VP8, which are the two leading formats.