Mobileread
the metaphysics of Epub
#1  Nate the great 06-25-2009, 09:28 PM
I'm beginning to question why Epub should be adopted over the other formats. I have a question that I hope someone can answer.

What is it about Epub that makes it better than all the other formats, and which can't be done with a web browser?

Or, here is another question: how is Epub greater than the sum of its parts?
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#2  Jellby 06-26-2009, 04:41 AM
Because it is designed as a standard. There is a specification of what must be supported by ePUB.

You could probably get the same (or more) features if you just create an HTML file with CSS, and a text file with metadata, and package everything in a RAR file, but then you'll have to find a reader that can deal with that, and other people might use a different format (different metadata, TeX instead of HTML, tar.bz2 instead of RAR...). Having something standardized is a good thing.

It is better than the sum of its part, because it is not only the sum of its parts, but the interaction between them and the security of the main format being fixed.

An important reason (in my view) to prefer ePUB over other formats is that ePUB books can very easily be edited and modifed without altering the rest of the book or degrading it in any way. At least DRM-free ePUBs.
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#3  Valloric 06-26-2009, 12:30 PM
What Jellby said.
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#4  brewt 06-26-2009, 01:11 PM
Font embedding. If it only weren't so bloody hard.

Theoretically, if the hardware providers would provide us with a way to address the players, music could be embedded into it as well. All those boring music history texts could come to (whatever) life (they could possibly have). Maybe in the 2.0 spec.

If a reader could be built to actually view true docx files, or archives of docx files, these things could also be had. I know, I know, evil. Can't resist yet another opportunity to bring up evil.

Electronic musical instrument developers went through the same growing pains 25 years ago when they developed MIDI. And that spec has nevr really gone onto further development - there's still vast doves of things one could do with mdi if one only had the wherewithal to connect all the dots. Er, notes....


The tools for building epubs still ain't great - when the manufacture of complex epubs gets more ubiquitous, the "why-vs-why-not" debates will become less important - 'cause if it's easy, etc etc.

-bjc
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#5  netseeker 06-26-2009, 04:38 PM
Quote Nate the great
What is it about Epub that makes it better than all the other formats
Quote Nate the great
and which can't be done with a web browser?
All the rendering stuff could be done with a web browser. With some effort a browser could support publication packaging, navigation, font embedding and enhanced meta data too.
From my point of view a ePub reading system *is* already a enhanced (and simultaneously also a crippled) web browser.
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#6  Nate the great 06-26-2009, 06:39 PM
Quote brewt
Font embedding. If it only weren't so bloody hard.
Mobipocket does it the easy way. It supports the font tag, and uses fonts from your devices fonts folder.
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#7  JSWolf 06-26-2009, 07:55 PM
Quote brewt
Font embedding. If it only weren't so bloody hard.
Actually, I find ePub's font embedding to be very very easy.
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#8  JSWolf 06-26-2009, 07:56 PM
Quote Nate the great
Mobipocket does it the easy way. It supports the font tag, and uses fonts from your devices fonts folder.
And if you jump forward and miss the font tag, your font won't be displayed. Mobipocket is rather buggy in this regard.
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#9  JSWolf 06-26-2009, 07:56 PM
The biggest reason to support ePub is that it has nothing whatsoever to do with Amazon.
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#10  netseeker 06-26-2009, 08:10 PM
Quote JSWolf
Actually, I find ePub's font embedding to be very very easy.
Me too.
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