eBooks had quite an interesting and revolutionary journey till date. It started with simple PDFs and evolved to interactive and ePUB formats. Today, publishers have some amazing epublishing formats to choose from for their audience. While moving their existing content to digital format, publishers must consider these two perspectives:
As a Digital Publisher: Choose a format that helps to balance productivity and cost-effectiveness at scale, while retaining the competitive edge in the market.
End-users: The end-users should find the content engaging, immersive, intriguing, interactive, and easy-to-read on all platforms, mobiles, eReaders, tablets, or laptops.
To find a balance between these two needs, it is first important to understand the different types of epublishing formats that are available. Here in this post, we run through the different types of epublishing formats to help you make an informed decision.
Most digital magazines were originally created in this format; however, it soon lost favour due to several security concerns and the fact that many browsers disabled Flash content, thus restricting its access. The good news is you can convert Flash to HTML5 easily.
This format is derived from a format called Mobipocket, and is the format Amazon uses for its Kindle eBooks and readers.
Microsoft Word’s proprietary format is widely used for documents in older versions of Word. Files in doc format are reflowable and can be easily converted into ePUB. DOCX is similar to .DOC and is a more recent Word format.
This Rich Text Format is primarily used by Word documents. Content in this format is easily edited, reflowable, and acceptable to some channels.
This is the format for LibreOffice, and is very similar to Microsoft Word except that it is free and available for all platforms. LibreOffice files can be easily edited and written out to html, doc, docx, rtf etc. format.
Currently, all printed textbooks are converted into the PDF format as a first step in their digital journey. A little bit of adjustment to the image resolution to diminish the ﬁle size may be required. While PDF format is a cost-effective solution and compatible with almost all reading platforms, it fails to live up to the expectations of the digital generation, mainly because content remains static. Now the traditional PDF may be enriched with multimedia resources like sound and video, hyperlinks or navigation buttons but the experience is still not be interactive as it does include tracking, interactive and monitoring features. Also, the layout is not suitable for all small screens.
A textbook can be directly converted to the mobile-friendly HTML5 format. This is now the most widely accepted format to create digital content because of its cross-platform compatibility and ability to provide multimedia support and hyperlink content to both internal and external sources. The format can be accessed across devices such as eReader, tablets, and smart phones.
The ePUB standard is developed and maintained by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) and is endorsed by the Book Industry Study. The ePUB3 format is dynamic in nature and is supported by emerging technologies such as HTML5 and CSS3. Since it is an HTML5 format, text can be hyperlinked to refer to both internal sections of the book and external reference links for more information on the subject. ePUB3 also incorporates SEO capabilities enabling online readers to search content based on keywords.
Of all the different epublishing formats available, the most popular format is the ePUB3 format. The software provides global language support and has the capability to handle the flow of the text RTL or LTR. It scores high in terms of offering readers greater access, functionality, and accessibility. ePUB3 provides traceability features that allow users to trace content and access it exactly at the time when they want to use it. Besides, publishers can also gain reader feedback, and trace the number of times a particular eBook or paper is downloaded. In other words, they can analyse end-users’ response to the content and accordingly enhance it for better productivity.
ePUB3 content also offers business benefits in terms of cost savings, especially when you consider the overall process of content creation and distribution. With ePUB3 content, publishers save in terms of publishing, binding, labelling, transport and repair. Besides its ability to support rich media formats, ePUB3 adheres to the DRM (Digital Rights Management) standards.
To conclude, publishers can broaden their reach, increase reader engagement, lower costs and achieve business acceleration by adopting ePUB3. Smart publishers have already embraced ePUB3 and are reaping the benefits. You may want to consider Kitaboo, an award-winning, ePUB3-based digital publishing solution that has found favour with some of the biggest names in the world of publishing worldwide.
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