Sigil Gets Closer to Epub3 Editing in Beta Release

sigilFor the past ten months the open-source Epub creation tool Sigil has had an option to create Epub3 files, but only as a post-production conversion. Soon that will change.

The developers of Sigil have released a new version of the app which they say represents the first step towards better Epub3 support. It doesn’t add support for editing Epub3 files, but it is a step in the right direction:

Today we are releasing Sigil-0.8.900 which really represents the first of the Sigil 0.9.0 pre-releases whose eventual goal is to add epub3 support without disrupting epub2 editing.

To accomplish this, Sigil has had most of its internals torn out and rebuilt from scratch …

The developers went on to ask that anyone who installs the new release to please test it and report any irregularities they encounter, irregardless of scale. They want to iron out any difficulties ASAP before continuing development towards support for both Epub and Epub3.

You can download the pre-release Sigil from GitHub.

Let’s hope they can get through this quickly. According to what I’ve heard on Twitter, the current method for converting from Epub to an Epub 3 file (an external plugin) can take up to a minute to generate an Epub3 ebook (which sometimes needs some tweaking before it will validate).

That’s a workable solution, but it’s not ideal. Once all the bigs are worked out, the new way to create an Epub3 file should be as simple as selecting “Save As”.


image  by Cuyahoga jco

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. Mackay Bell28 September, 2015

    And what are the advantages of Epub3 over Epub2?

    1. Nate Hoffelder28 September, 2015

      For most books sold today, there is no advantage.

      Epub3 adds all sorts of fooferaw that aren’t used in very many ebooks.

  2. Moriah Jovan28 September, 2015

    EPUB3 isn’t supported by anything that’s in heavy use (ADE, Kindle). I figure, it’ll be there when they all get their crap together.

  3. David29 September, 2015

    …one could argue that the “foofaraw” in epub3 not used by many ebooks is because you can’t do it in epub2 without using a platform specific proprietary format.

  4. Moriah Jovan29 September, 2015

    True. You could also argue it’s because the publishing houses are so far behind they wouldn’t a) know how to do it and b) InDesign isn’t a priority at Adobe. ADE is even less of one, which speaks to your point.

    That’s what happened with EPUB2. It was (I think) 2 years before Adobe gave InDesign an export to EPUB option (while we’d been doing them from scratch forever). I have an EPU I’m doing that’s gorgeous, but I had to do it from scratch (including text) because the publisher only had the PDF and the print designer couldn’t make InDesign behave. The EPUB was an unbelievable mess coming from InDesign.

    My money’s on the limitations of InDesign’s abilities. Coupled with the fact that Adobe forgot about ADE (on which Nook and BlueFire, to name two) are built, there’s no reason (that I can see) to do it.

    I got the Sigil plugin a year ago because I heard whispers that it would be needed soon. I can’t see that “soon” on the horizon, but i’m prepared for it, by gum!

  5. John29 September, 2015

    Advantages of ePub 3?

    – Accessibility (through semantics mainly, which screen readers parse and tell so if you have one non-fiction book with a lot of figures, asides, etc. it is definitely a plus).
    – support of a lot of useful things per spec, which were not officially supported in ePub 2 (takes some practice to use some while not breaking the file in an ePub 2 reader though).
    – better metadata.
    – better nav.
    – better support for multiple languages.

    I could go on but basically, it’s a lot better, just because of HTML5, which proper use can truly benefit users.

    1. Nate Hoffelder29 September, 2015

      Better metadata? *swoon*

  6. SteveHut29 September, 2015

    Methinks the only way EPUB3 will ever become a reality in the marketplace would be if KDP or Apple iBooks suddenly decided that it would become the new required format per a fixed transition date. (and that would cause all hell to break loose in the ebook production world).

    1. Nate Hoffelder29 September, 2015

      I don’t see that happening.

      They’ll take Epub3, but I seriously doubt Amazon would make it a requirement. That would be a speedbump, and Amazon doesn’t want that (which is why Amazon will take just about any well-formed ebook).

      Also, Apple doesn’t care enough ro make that a requirement.

  7. Moriah Jovan29 September, 2015

    I am not arguing that it’s not better. I would LOVE to be able to be excited about EPUB3 because it IS exciting, but what SteveHut said.


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