Thorium Reader is the free desktop EPUB reader published by EDRLab. This is a highly accessible application, compatible with screen readers like Jaws, NVDA, Voice Over (on MacOS) and Narrator (on Windows).

The release of the version 1.3 is an important step for the “media equality” target we’re pursuing, because it now supports  audiobooks formatted using the W3C Audiobooks + LPF format (but also audiobooks formatted using the internal Readium WebPub format).

Why relying on this new format? The distribution of audiobooks faces a problem of non-standardization. Publishers are asked to deliver audiobooks in various forms depending on distributors & merchants; the mp3 format which seems to be the only current audio standard with WAV is very old (and WAV gives huge files), the demands on the length/volume/quality of the tracks are very diverse, the metadata attached to the products are extremely basic. And on top of that, transformations applied by distributors & merchants often break the audio quality the studios produce.

The “W3C Audiobooks” standard format focuses on the structure and metadata of audio books, including the notion of a table of contents. It does not, however, focus directly on the codec/length/volume/quality of audio tracks, but will be possible to address this axis within the audio industry.

 

 

Text based and audio based applications are now on the same plane; image based publication will follow in some weeks, with the additional support of comics / bande dessinée / manga in DiViNa format.

This version 1.3 also includes many improvements based on the feedback of the 20.000 people who already installed the app on their PC or Mac worldwide.

A Dutch locale has been added to the software (thanks to Ted van der Togt from the national library of Netherlands, KB.nl) and other languages will be added soon (Italian and Hungarian are next in the loop). Localization is easy and you can help us getting the software usable in your preferred language with few efforts: contact us if you’re ready to help.

You’ll find detailed release notes and download packages here.

If you are using Windows 10, you can download Thorium Reader from the Windows Store and benefit from automatic updates.

This software will be installed on Windows are a replacement for the now defunct Readium Chrome App. It will be used on a Mac as a complement to the Apple Books application, especially for users who want to read LCP protected e-books (iBooks only supports the Apple proprietary DRM). And it is one a the very few good reading apps on Linux.

Thorium will evolve in the coming months with the addition of a support for EPUB read aloud capabilities (a.k.a. media overlays), support for digital visual narratives, search, annotations, helpers for dyslexic people and more.

EDRLab is looking for sponsors for helping this application becoming the best desktop app ever.

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