iBooks: The Latest EPUB 3.0 Reader
At PePcon 2012 last week, I kept hearing again and again that there were no EPUB 3.0 readers. While this was not true then (I used both Infogrid Pacific’s AZARDI reader and IDPF’s Readium to demo EPUB 3.0 files and capabilities in my “The Future of eBook Publishing: EPUB 3.0” with Liz Castro), it is even less true now.
Apple Now Officially Supports EPUB 3.0 in iBooks
On Tuesday, May 22, 2012, Apple sent out an email to its iTunes Connect mailing list that included the following paragraph:
EPUB 3 Support
iBooks and the iBookstore now support EPUB 3 for flowing books. EPUB 3 includes new features to enrich your book including the pop-up footnote functionality.
Liz Castro also posted on an the second part of that announcement from Apple in her Pigs, Gourds, and Wikis post “Creating pop-up footnotes in EPUB 3 (and thus in iBooks)”: that’s right pop-up footnotes! Apple has gone ahead and figured out how to make pop-up footnotes work by associating the pop-up behavior with the
epub:type="footnote" pair. As Castro details:
So, to make a pop-up footnote in EPUB 3 (which works in iBooks), you just have to create your footnote marker link as shown above, paying special care to include the
epub:type="noteref"attribute/value pair. I’ll repeat it here for good measure:
Next, create an
asideelement that contains the text that should appear in a pop-up display when the link is pressed.
asideelement must also have the
epub:type="footnote"attribute/value pair to mark it as the footnote content as well as an
idattribute that matches the value of the
hrefattribute in your link.
< p>These have been corrected in this EPUB3 edition.
And in case you are not familiar with
<aside>, it is new to HTML5.
Many of us working on eBooks creation have been hoping for functional pop-up footnotes for the past couple years. It is great to see that Apple has gone ahead and made it happen within the ePUB 3.0 specification instead of forking off in their own direction. Can pop-up indexes and glossaries be far behind?
We’re Number 2?
It is strange to me that Apple’s official announcement of its support of EPUB 3.0 in iBooks did not garner more attention in the publishing press. This is a potentially game-changing announcement. I am not sure why the other EPUB retailers are waiting to support EPUB 3.0, but I think they may have just put Apple in the driver’s seat when it comes to EPUB readers. This may well be a another step toward Apple wresting the title of #2 eBook retailer from Barnes & Noble.
Are you excited that iBooks now officially supports the EPUB 3.0 spec? What do you think of Apple’s pop-up footnotes? Do you think Apple will take the #2 eBook retailer position from Barnes & Noble?