Ebook, e-book, eBook: Toward a Fulsome #eprdctn Terminology
Editor’s Note: Ebook, e-book, or eBook? I’m certainly guilty of using the latter. Today’s guest post from Laura Brady looks at the words and acronyms we use (and shouldn’t use).
The ePub world is full of confusing lingo that developers flippantly toss off like we’ve been working in this space for decades. The truth is the ebook world is very new and, as such, naming conventions are still in flux. In this article I will attempt some consensus on the words we use to describe our work with a view to working toward some standards.
So have we settled on a standard for the word “ebook”? Is it just ebook/Ebook? Please tell me it’s just ebook/Ebook. #eprdctn
— iris amelia (@ePubPupil) April 9, 2014
Iris Amelia kicked off the conversation with a relatively innocent question on Twitter on April 9. So let’s deal with this one head on: ebook is a word that requires no special treatment – no hyphenation, no camel case. Ebook requires no special capitalization except at the start of a sentence. It is a well-established word. I cite the fact that I was able to use it in a Scrabble game as irrefutable proof. That said, Amazon still camel-cases the word, which I understand is confusing, but please resist their example.
On other bits of an ebook developer’s terminology, I am a little less certain but will hazard a primer here nonetheless. Please feel free to engage in the comments section.
|SHORT FORM||LONG FORM|
|ADE||Adobe Digital Editions; see here|
|DPS||Adobe’s proprietary Digital Publishing Suite; refers to the format|
|DRM||digital rights management|
|EDUPUB||an IDPF initiative to build educational and textbook publishing standards|
|EEB||enhanced ebook format; see here. I suspect this is a primarily an in-house term specific to HarperCollins|
|eink||referring to non-tablet ereading devices|
|eprdctn||e-production, referring specifically to the Twitter community|
|EPUB||proprietary ebook format name|
|EPUB2||First generation ebook specification, developed by the IDPF|
|EPUB3||Current version of IDPF’s specification|
|iBooks||the iOS library management app|
|IDPF||International Digital Publishing Forum, a trade and standards organization for the digital publishing industry|
|iOS||the operating system of Apple mobile devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod)|
|KF8-FXL||Amazon’s unique fixed-layout code|
|KF8||next gen Amazon ebook code|
|MathML||a specification o describing use of mathematical expressions|
|MOBI||Amazon’s proprietary ebook format|
|MOBI7||Kindle code pre-Kindle Fire/Paperwhite family of devices|
|multi-touch ebook||an iTunes naming convention for iBooks Author ebooks|
|Adobe branded portable document format; non-reflowable print replica format|
|QA||quality assurance; refers to the process of proofing a digital product on device|
|QC||a QA alt; some in-house conventions refer to QA, some to QC|
|SMIL||Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language, referring to the markup language used to delineate media overlays|
|SVG||Scalable Vector Graphics|
The following terms are not real, don’t use them:
- iBook (referring to an ebook)
- Flepub (referring to fixed-layout epub)
- Fixed-format (referring to fixed-layout epub)
What did I miss? What did I get wrong? Let’s hammer this out and get a set of clear conventions for this confusing #eprdctn world.
Laura Brady is principal at Brady Type, a full-service book design studio specializing in ebook development, custom training, and general publishing problem solving. She is also one of the architects of the annual ebookcraft conference. She is leading a workshop on fixed-layout ebook development at PePcon in June. You can find her at @LauraB7.
Fantastic article! Great to have this info all in one place. However, I take exception to the EPUB (ePub) references. I believe that the trademarked term is “EPUB” (all caps). EPUB is what the IDPF uses in the specifications and elsewhere on their website .. except in the logo, which is “ePUB”. This would also apply to EPUB2 and EPUB3 (although I’m never sure if there should be a space or not).
You are correct, Scott. We’ve amended the article to reflect your comment.
Technically you should be careful with the term “eink”. It’s actually a proprietary term for a specific manufacturer, there are black and white devices that don’t use eInk technology.
Not going to stop us casually referring to all B&W screens as eink though!
one reason why I use the hyphen in ‘e-book’ is because I can’t avoid it in ‘e-reader’. Using it in both seems tidier to me.
Why not lose the hyphen in ereader as well? You know it’ll happen eventually. Just bite the bullet and do it now!
After I posted this comment I compared Goggle results of ‘e-reader’ vs. ‘ereader’. Surprisingly, there is no much difference: 18m for the former, 16m for the latter. So yes, we can say goodbye to the hyphen 🙂
not that we should pay attention to old fogey style guides, but: Webster prefers e-book. as does Encyclopedia Britannica; Chicago Manual of Style
This is true, but I think this is the case of a proprietary word that’s come into the language. I hereby appropriate eink for general usage. *plants flag*
I earnestly believe it’s just a matter of time before the dictionaries come around on dropping the hyphen. I think the OED still hyphenates email, and that is certainly not reflective of general usage.
Apple uses the term “Multi-Touch books” (this could be new, as they somewhat recently updated their iBooks branding guidelines)
IDPF uses not EPUB2 or EPUB3, but EPUB 2 and EPUB 3, so that is what I use too.
I agree, the hyphen is on its way out.
I noticed in recent versions of the Apple iBooks guidelines that they refer to reflowable epubs as “Flowing books.” I kind of like the Zen aspect of that.
When they mention “EPUB” which they do quite a bit, it’s always all caps and refers to the file format specifically, as in “flowing book EPUB files” or “EPUB 3 Flowing books.” Also the other kinds are “Fixed Layout books” and “Multi-Touch books.”
Nary an ebook to be found. It’s all books.