Sunday, January 6, 2013

The EPUB3 Challenge

The year of 2011 was considered to be a major breakthrough  in the eBook industry with the IDPF announcement of the new EPUB3 standard. even today, most of the readers support simple literary books with no capabilities for extra features and no response to a variety of needs of eBooks publishers  such as all Multimedia, interactivity, animation etc. This is needed for text books, educational books, academic materials and many scientific books. Dictionaries, and all sorts of guides such as tourist guides, etc.
In 2012 Helicon Books had launched the first EPUB3 reader for the Andorid operating system- the Helicon Books Gyan Reader. The reader has opened a new era in the digital books industry and attracts all types of text books publishers , educational books publishers, and more.

EPUB3 Media Revolution  

While most EPUB2 eBooks presented images , interactive features and capabilities emerged later in EPUB3. Readers in the new standard support videos, interactive images, and another interesting option - Media Overlay- a method to synchronize audio and text. a combination of sentences marking and audio that read them (dubbed speak aloud by Apple). Now- imagine a children's eBook with all these options. The reader's functions become similar to a computer connected to the Internet but the major advantage is that here you don't have to be connected. That means that eBooks written in EPUB3 standard can turn the book into an interactive game where people who read the book feel like taking part in a quest, a show, a game, or a reality situation.
Tourist guides in EPUB3 can present the traveler his quest in real time, show him interactive images of the places he should visit including videos. Children's education books can present interactive simulations, videos, and the option of Media Overlay for pupils who have reading disabilities. Think about all the options that make educational books much more interesting for learning.

EPUB3 Obstacles

Although EPUB3 opens the door for more interesting features and presentation developments, there are serious questions according to its necessity. As it was mentioned before, if EPUB3 turns the eBook into an Internet site- why shouldn't we use the computer instead?
There are some answers for that. First many readers read their eBooks during traveling in places where they don't have Internet options. Digital readers users can use their eBook on their way. It is a major advantage for travel book readers- but for others as well. Second, costs. Internet use might be high in some countries and even higher if you travel abroad. Third- support. Suppose an entire class wish to use  a site at the same time- the band width may not be enough to support all of them. An EPUB3 reader is an answer in such case and other cases that demands a group to use the same material at the same time.
Another advantage is sustainability, that you do not depend on a web server, you own the book.

EPUB3 Around The World

EPUB3 had opened the doors for other languages, not only western languages.
The new standard supports top to bottom languages such as Chinese and Japanese, and also supports complex text layout languages as well (for example Hebrew and Arabic). Such a development expose the entire digital publishing industry to a wider audience around the world.

There is a hope that such improvements will expose the digital book industry  audience to a new content and that more people around the world will use this wonderful device which turned a simple book from a book into an interactive way of learning.

1 comment:

  1. >> As it was mentioned before, if EPUB3 turns the eBook into an Internet site- why shouldn't we use the computer instead?

    Most important is that ebooks are supported by a well-formed ecosystem allowing you to discover them, buy them, keep them on cloud bookshelves, and increasingly to share and socialize around, or, conversely for publishers, to market, distribute, and monetize them.