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Access to Launch Epub3 Compatible Reading App

You might recall that last week the IDPF held a meeting last week and finalized the Epub3 spec, moving us one step forward to seeing commercially available Epub3 ebooks.

When I heard the news I didn’t expect it to matter much; I thought it would be months before we saw any apps or ereaders that supported the new format. Apparently I was wrong.

Access announced on Thursday (a day after the spec was finalized) that they had a compatible reading app available for license. NetFront BookReader is boasted as being fully compliant with the new standard. It’s based on the webKit browser and supports HTML5, javascript, and complex formatting like " logographic kanji characters incorporating furigana annotation".

The app isn’t available to the public, unfortunately, because Access are looking to license it to other developers so they can use it in an app or on an ebook reader. Like the NetFront Book Viewer, which Access release 2 years ago, NetFront BookReader is going to be available with another company’s brand on it. You’d probably only know that this app is in there if you checked copyright page.

Now, I got the pres release last week and I held it because I wanted to name some of the developers who are using it. Access didn’t share that info, so I’m going to ask my readers if they know whether anyone is using this app.

If you’re interested in looking at an Epub3 compatible app, check out iBooks and try one of the demo ebooks I found a few months back. iBooks is mostly compliant with the Epub3 standard, but Apple never released full details on what they do and do not support. Apple also added their own quirks to iBooks which might have some interesting effects.

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Mike Cane October 17, 2011 um 11:19 am

ACCESS announced also at MWC. It went nowhere.

This will likely go nowhere too. Wait for Bluefire Reader or Aldiko or someone else.

Ivan Dwyer October 18, 2011 um 7:55 pm

Thanks for the article Nate. We will most certainly share with you any public releases using our latest technology as it becomes available.

I wanted to jump in here because there’s some confusion on the announced products that Mike mentions here. At Mobile World Congress ACCESS announced availability of the ACCESS Digital Publishing Ecosystem which many publishers including Alfred Music Publishing, Bearport Publishing and Scientific Publishing are now using for their branded iPad apps. As Nate mentioned, ACCESS provides a white label platform to build apps on behalf of the publisher’s brand. With this, it’s not like Aldiko or Bluefire since it’s more than a plain reader that consumers can download, it is an end to end system for building boutique container apps for publishers. The NetFront BookReader is a component of the whole system that now supports ePub3 content within the publisher’s app. I just wanted to correct the confusion. Thanks,

Ivan Dwyer
Head of Digital Publishing
ACCESS Systems Americas

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