IDPF Launches Readium – Epub3/HTML5 Reading App

O’Reilly Tools of Change conference kicks off today, and the International Digital Publishing Forum has just announced their new digital reading initiative. Rather than let Adobe, Apple, and other companies take the lead on deciding how Epub3 should look on your screen, the IDPF is going to release a reading app that meets the Epub3 standards.

Readium is going to be their reference implementation, and it will be based on the Webkit open source browser which can be found in the core of many browsers and reading apps.

So what is Readium? It’s not an ereader, and right now it’s not even an app. But in the long run it’s going to be an open source reading app that anyone will be able to integrate into their own app or ereader. They’ll need to provide their own DRM (if desired), of course. So if you were hoping Readium will help you avoid the Adobe tax, sorry but it doesn’t look like that will happen.

But on the upside, in the long run Readium is going to make things a lot easier for ebook developers. There won’t be a need to test an ebook on a half dozen devices just to make sure there are no quirks in the design. Readium  should also  improve the reading experience of the bottom-of-the-rung ereaders; hardware developers will be able to use Readium rather than whatever cheap crap they’re using now (you haven’t see the crap I have). Readium also could potentially spur innovation. Assuming it’s built right, software devs should be able to add experimental features without having to code the entire reading app.

The IDPF expects to release a feature-complete implementation of Readium, including an Android app, in mid-2012. If you like, you can try an early beta release of Readium right now. There is a proof of concept release available as a Chrome plugin. Chrome doesn’t have many reading options, so this is good news.

beta release



Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. fjtorres13 February, 2012

    A good idea.
    Three years late, but a good idea.
    It won’t do anything to prevent proprietary forks–if anything, it makes them easier–and there’s still no teeth to the spec but at least the generic device/app vendors will have a common target to work to.
    Whether any real benefit comes of this is going to depend on the licensing terms of the rendering code.

  2. […] Related: Clueful post about Readium by The Digital Reader’s Nate Hoffelder. […]

  3. Nikhil Raj17 May, 2012


    Is there any Library for reading ePub3 files in Android?

    Nikhil Raj LR

    1. Nate Hoffelder17 May, 2012

      Not that I know of, no.


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