Epub3 v. KF8. Post 1.

First: disclosure:

I love my kindle.  It provides an excellent reading platform for me, and by that I mean that for the vast majority of the time I have it in my hands I’m not aware of it: I am reading.  I suspect any of the major readers would probably satisfy me as much, but it was a kindle I bought, and I really recommend the product.  They are not waterproof though, and I’ll tell you how I know that one day.  Its not the happiest story.


EPUB3 is a brand spanking new specification for e-books.  E-a-lot-of-things: magazines, children’s books, publications of all types.  Simply put an epub is a zip file filled with the text, images, tables of contents, videos, and formatting instructions needed to display a  publication on screen.  You can think of it as a big bag with pockets in it – a container with spaces for all the different types of media or content you might want.   All of the bits are glued together with HTML – but not any old HTML: HTML5, more of which later.

My experiment with epub is going to be developing a picturebook  for a client – I’m going to document how that goes, with the intent of creating something destined for tablets (iPad type devices).  I’m doing it to learn how it works – there is never a better way than actually trying to build something!


Why, the cognoscenti might ask, if you love your kindle so much don’t you use Amazon’s new epub killer, Kindle Format 8?  It upgrades their previous publication format AZW, based on mobipocket (also just called mobi).  It, like epub, embraces and extends HTML5 and CSS for layout.

There are a couple of reasons: it doesn’t seem nearly as well developed as epub3, and its not open!  I’m dedicated to the idea of keeping information as open as possible, and Amazon are still working in the old fashioned model of trying to keep information corralled, only releasing it when money has traded.  Apple learned that it was worth taking the risk and providing digital content in a format that was easily sharable - because it was easier to buy it than share it.  Amazon don’t trust themselves, so they don’t trust us. This is as much an ideological decision as anything else.

I’ll be keeping an eye on KF8 though, and seeing how usage of it develops.



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