In case you did not know, O’Reilly Media’s annual Tools of Change for Publishing 2012 started today with a series of workshops in New York City. If you have never been to Tools of Change or TOC, it is like Christmas and New Year’s Eve in one three-day stretch for people working in digital publishing, complete with free gifts from O’Reilly and others, and the post-event hangover due to being bombarded with so much new information and meeting so many friends and colleagues.
IDPF and Readium
The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), the group responsible for the ePUB specification chose the launch of TOC today to announce their new ePUB 3.o reader Readium, a “a new open source initiative to develop a comprehensive reference implementation of the IDPF EPUB® 3 standard.” According to the Readium press release,
Packaged as a test application for content developers, the Readium codebase will also serve as a steppingstone for commercial reading systems. A proof-of-concept prototype is available now as a Google Chrome browser extension for Windows and Mac OS/X, and the project aims to deliver a feature-complete implementation including an Android® configuration by mid-2012.
According to an Addendum Quote Sheet linked to the press release, the following organizations are supporting Readium: ACCESS, Adobe, Anobii, Apex CoVantage, Assoc. American Publishers (AAP), Barnes & Noble, Bluefire Productions, BISG, Copia, DAISY, EAST, EDItEUR, Evident Point, Google, Incube Tech, Kobo/Rakuten, Monotype, O’Reilly, Rakuten, Safari Books Online, Samsung, Sony, VitalSource, Voyager Japan. This support is incredibly important. With both Amazon and Apple choosing to release eBook production tools for formats different from ePUB 3.o, the support of ePUB 3.o by just about everyone else in the eBook market gives the new specification the foundation it needs to ensure that publishers will devote resources to its creation.
An initial beta release of an extension that adds EPUB support to Google Chrome is available now. I tested it out a bit today on some ePUB2 and ePUB3 samples. It is not the perfect reader, does not seem to work on internal links, and was not playing embedded video clips for me. I am taking it as a work in progress and a very beta reader at this point, however, and expect the IDPF and it’s partners to put the work into that it needs to be a first-rate reading platform.
Today, the IDPF also announced the open source ePUB Samples Project hosted on code.google.com. The ePUB Samples Project is “a repository of EPUB 3.0 sample documents. The collection is intended to showcase features of the EPUB 3 standard, and to provide testing materials for Reading System developers.” The site includes a nice Feature Matrix of EPUB 3.0 features. It has a number of sample EPUB files you can download and explore. There is a page on how you can contribute to the project.
The IDPF also has a great EPUB 3 Structural Semantics Vocabulary that gives a nice glossary of ePUB3 terms you should be familiar with if you are going to be creating ePUB 3.0 files.
Down & Dirty EPUB 3.0
This morning at TOC, Amanda Gomm and Tom McCluskey of Digital Bindery led a workshop on “Down & Dirty EPUB 3.0: Building an EPUB 3.0 from Start to Finish.” They are generous enough to make their slide deck available on the Digital Bindery Website. They have many additional resources available on this page, including an ePUB 3.0 sample that you can open up and see how Digital Bindery put it together.
Accessible EPUB 3
O’Reilly is generous enough to make Accessible EPUB 3: Best Practices for Creating Universally Usable Content by Matt Garrish downloadable for free in your choice of eBook formats.
Dublin Core Metadata
If you need help with your metadata in ePUBs, go to the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative page on DCMI Metadata Terms.
HTML5 for Publishers
Sanders Kleinfeld led a workshop on HTML5 for Publishers and the current status of HTML5 compatibility with major ePUB reader platforms (for example, iBooks, Nook Color, Adobe Digital Editions). Sanders shares his PowerPoint slides on the page linked to above. O’Reilly is also making his book HTML5 for Publishers available for free as an eBook.
As an extra bonus, you can also download the eBook Publishing with iBooks Author free from O’Reilly.
TOC on Tuesday and Wednesday
TOC continues on Tuesday and Wednesday, and O’Reilly will be live streaming video of the keynotes and selected sessions. Be sure to catch Elizabeth Castro’s session EPUB in the Wild on Tuesday at 1:40 p.m. EST.
Iris Febres (@ePubPupil) is also live tweeting the show, so follow her on Twitter for all the best information coming out of the show.
Are you at TOC 2012? What is the most helpful or meaningful information you have heard this year? What are the major themes?