IDPF Working Group Improving on EPUB Format for E-books
One area of significance is increasing the level of print fidelity you can get to with EPUB publications--so increasing the amount of control you have over styling and layout and being able to process publications such that they look good on multiple-size screens and multiple aspect ratios without having to code specifically to particular devices ... .
Another important area is rich media and interactivity. There's always been ways to extend EPUB to embed videos, audio, Flash or HTML5, but if you're doing that in the current standard, you tend to know that a particular reading system does its extensions one way and you code to that particular reading system, which doesn't serve the broad swath of content consumers very well. So we want to come up with standard cross-reading systems and mechanisms to bake in rich media and interactivity. That will likely be focused around HTML5, looking at enhanced metadata, particularly magazine and newspaper prism feeds, and also looking at how we might do closer integration with ONYX and the metadata space.
Extra: Do you believe there's a desire from book readers for rich media within e-books?
Conboy: I gave a talk recently at an AAP [Association of American Publishers] meeting in New York, and I think there's sort of a reality that clearly the wonderful things that you do on the iPad ... that [with] any of these application-type pieces of content, everybody looks at those and goes, “Ooh, that's very exciting.” It's sort of the bright, shiny object that's just out of reach.
I think there's a realization that your average trade press novel … what kind of interactivity do you do in it that makes sense? Before there was talk of, “Well, we could do interactive front- and end-matter interviews with the author or forms you fill out to get additional content,” things like that. I can see islands of interactivity making sense in the normal trade press book space, but much more so in the newspaper and magazine space where you're going for higher content fidelity. Embedding a video makes real sense in a news story or magazine article. ... The stuff we're doing with rich media and interactivity will provide a cross-reading system way of doing that.