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Why I’m excited about Epub3

So the draft of the Epub 3 spec came out a few days ago, and it has a number oof really shiny features. It’s based on HTML5, and there’s one part of HTML5 in particular that has me drooling. It’s a tag called canvas. You can use this tag to draw content when you read the ebook.

So what can you do with it? I can think of 2, but there are probably a bunchaton.

First, think about what this means for graphs. With the current Epub spec, if you wanted a graph in a book you embedded an image. But with Epub3, you can create the graph on the fly from a set of numbers. What’s even better is that eventually we’ll get the ability in reading apps to edit the content; this means you’ll be able to input the data for the graph and your reading app will draw  it for you. Think of what that could mean for textbooks.

My  other idea involves graphic novels. Right now there are several propreitary comics formats as well as CBR and CBZ. The latter 2 are simply zip and rar files filled with images, but the propreitary formats do a lot more. they have code that can control how you see the page images: pan, zoom, rotate, etc. I’m pretty sure that Epub3 should be able to support code similar to the propreitary formats, and it will use the canvas tag to accomplish it.

You might not know much about the canvas tag so I found a code library that shows off a few tricks. It’s called Gury, and even though it’s still in early development I think it’s worth looking at. It will show you a few thimgs you can do with this tag. of course, I don’t think you’ll be able to use this code library in your ebooks, but ti' still fun to look at.

I’d embed an example here, but my WordPress install doesn’t like HTML5 tags.


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yuzutea February 17, 2011 um 2:19 pm

I’m excited about epub 3.0 because it may lead to support for vertical text, which may lead to epub becoming a more accepted standard in Japanese and Chinese markets.

Doug Lance February 17, 2011 um 8:24 pm

Really cool. I want to learn everything about EPUB and HTML 5. Could you point me in the right direction? I would appreciate it.

Sweetpea February 18, 2011 um 2:03 am

How long will it take the industry (aka the hardware/firmware builders) to take up on this? I doubt it will be fast. So, personally, yes, it’s a nice format, but I don’t see it coming to a device near me for a long time…

Nate the great February 18, 2011 um 5:40 am


fjtorres February 18, 2011 um 6:42 am

This kind of spec change is most easily implemented by on the applications side, so you would expect to see it first on PC/Mac apps, iOS (Bluefire sounds like a candidate), and Android (Aldiko). Depending on availability of quality Open Source rendering code you might see ePub 3 support on some of the Linux readers like Coolreader 3.
On the hardware side, it is exactly the kind of thing Sony might jump on if they’re still doing readers for 2013.
And, of course, it is *exactly* the kind of differentiator that Apple loves.
And, since they have the smallest catalog among the feuding DRM camps they’d be the first to be able to claim all their books ship in ePub3 (even the ones that don’t use the new features).

My (contrarian) take on this:
1- Since ePub is a guideline "standard" with virtually no enforcement, forking is inevitable.
2- There is a lot of FUD headed towards ePub-land over this new spec (and what; *still* no standard dictionary or annotation guidelines?).
3- Amazon stands to gain a lot if a spec war errupts over how these new features are implemented.

The features look enticing but the potential for mischief is very high unless ePub certification gets some real teeth real soon.

Peter Sorotokin February 24, 2011 um 7:55 pm

In current EPUB if you want to embed a graph you put SVG.

Nate the great February 24, 2011 um 8:16 pm

Actually, most people use a jpeg (and I curse them for it).

PS July 1, 2011 um 9:27 am

Hi All,
If anyone have any sample of epub3 format or epub with javascript code using, please send me as a sample, or please send me web-link from where i could got knowledge about it.

Nate Hoffelder July 1, 2011 um 9:33 am

I’ve found 2 public samples so far:

There is also a third in iBooks called: Les balades en Yvelines

PS July 5, 2011 um 1:11 am


Many thanks for this useful web-link.


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