By Jeremy Greenfield, Editorial Director, Digital Book World, @JDGsaid
The future of e-books is now.
The approval of a new coding language for e-books, developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), a global trade and standards organization for the promotion of electronic publishing, means that soon it will be a relatively simple matter for e-books to contain video, audio, dynamic content and all sorts of interactive features.
The catch? Many of the features of EPUB 3, as it’s called, can’t currently be rendered by most e-reading software. Meaning, if a book publisher created a new e-book using EPUB 3 to embed a Google map or a Twitter feed, the book wouldn’t work properly on most e-readers.
But that’s all about to change.
“2012 will be the year when retailers adopt EPUB 3,” said Bill McCoy, executive director of the IDPF.
For instance, Ingram Content Group, the country’s largest distributor of digital and physical books, said that its e-textbook reader, VitalSource Bookshelf, which is available as an application for the iPad, iPhone, Mac Windows, browsers, iOS clients, and Android in the near term, will begin to support EPUB 3 in April.
“VitalSource works with 200 education publishers, most of which are gearing up for EPUB 3,” said Rick Johnson, chief technology officer for VitalSource.
As more e-reader software supports more of EPUB 3, publishers need to prepare for changes in creative capabilities, workflow, hiring and, maybe most important of all, their relationship with booksellers.