The recent additions to eBook apps (iPad, Kindle, et al.) have made it possible to carry an entire library of eBooks in our pockets and easily access them anywhere, anytime. The two widely used formats for ebooks are ePUB3 and PDF. Publishers are constantly on the lookout for the friendliest publishing format for better readability across multiple platforms. As of now, ePUB3 seems to have captured their attention.
ePUB3 stands for electronic publishing and is a digital book format which can be read on a variety of digital devices and dedicated eReaders.
Below are 5 pointers to explain why in the battle of formats, ePUB3 has trumped over its PDF counterpart:
1. Designed specifically for eBooks:
The first distinction can be made based on their origin. The PDF was designed to be the digital version of the hardcopy documents. It was the same as a printed copy, except that you could now read and store the document on a screen. PDF is essentially a snapshot of a page, complete with pictures, text, images, charts, and diagrams. ePUB3, on the other hand, has been specifically designed with smartphones and tablets in mind and can reflow the text to fit the screen size.
2. Better reading experience:
A PDF isn’t an eBook. It is an exact replica of the printed document that you can hold in your hand. You will see the same font, same spacing, same margins and image placement as in the hardcopy version. A PDF file is easy to read on a computer. However, to read on a smartphone or an eReader, you would have to scroll horizontally to be able to complete sentences or even zoom in and out for the closer look at the details.
ePUB3, on the other hand, offers both static and reflowable design features. With static design, you can maintain complete control over the look and feel of the document to prevent any changes in layout and text/image position. The text is not reflowable to fit in with the screen size.
In case of reflowable ePUB3, the text is more responsive, and the page breaks change with the screen size, the images are also resized in proportion to the screen/window and the text flows around them. This format is the most popular with eBook developers since it improves readability across multiple devices. Whether readers access the ebooks on their computers or smartphones, they will have the same reading experience.
3. Higher interactivity:
ePUB3 allows for more interactivity. In that, you can embed features, such as audio, video, sound effects, narration, links and other such interactive elements. These features are very necessary for designing learning management solutions, where learners can sometimes listen, sometimes read, sometimes watch videos and sometimes focus on interactive exercises that test their abilities. PDFs, on the other hand, do not allow media add-ons and widgets. They are static in nature and provide end-users with a unidimensional learning experience.
How to Automate PDF to ePub3 Conversion
4. Reaching a broader audience:
The eBook industry is here to stay with revenues expected to reach US$13,485m in 2022. With the market growing, publishers can use ePUB3 to reach the widest possible audience including the visually impaired. The audio narration widget on the ePUB3 makes it possible for the visually impaired readers to access the text on the page. They can also change the size of the font and adjust the images on the screen according to their needs. By contrast, PDF does not offer this level of accessibility.
5. The benefits of Open standard:
ePUB3 is an open source standard which has now been acquired by the W3C. Open source implies that the public can download its source code, documentation and blueprints and edit and manipulate them to transform ePUB files to different formats. Besides, this also opens doors for further development and widespread use of ePUB3. PDF, on the other hand, is proprietary format owned by ISO. This makes it difficult to edit and convert documents to other formats.
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