If you’re in publishing and haven’t yet heard about or paid attention to EPUB, it’s time to start listening.

In its simplest form, EPUB is an industry-standard digital format for publications that was originally targeted at books because they were most conducive to “auto-flowing” content on a digital e-reader device. EPUB has been around for some time, but the fast-growing list of tablet devices, and content available to read on them, is quickly pushing this standard to new levels.

The EPUB standard has been marshaled by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). EPUB 3 is the current version of the format, approved in October 2011.

According to Matt Garrish, author of the book What Is EPUB 3?, this latest revision of the format offers several significant advancements:

  • The ability to embed multimedia components that flow along with the text in your document. Now, both audio and video clips can be used.
  • The use of media overlays that produce a “read along” experience by combining audio and the highlighting of words.
  • Scripting, giving us the ability to automate more.
  • Support for many languages and writing styles.

Read a more detailed explanation of the spec on the IDPF website.

We’ll be sharing many great resources and industry contacts for EPUB knowledge and, more specifically, trends and best practices, details on the format’s challenges, and approaches to taking advantage of it. Please let us know where your questions and challenges lie, in the comments area below.

Posted by: Monica Murphy

Monica Murphy has worked in the publishing industry for over 30 years supporting publishing operations of various sizes. In her role as Technical Product Manager for Technology for Publishing, she shares her publishing application expertise supporting a broad range of publishing clients in InDesign best practices, cross-platform content workflows, and InDesign Template strategies. Her weekly tip and blog posts have a committed following in the InDesign community, and as a long-time participant in the InDesign pre-release community, she regularly analyzes and provides feedback for upcoming features. Monica manages the authoring and publication of Technology for Publishing’s handbooks on InDesign, InCopy, and other associated titles.