Open Standards

A tablet which shows an EPUB book, near a cop of hot coffee

EDRLab actively participates in the maintenance of the EPUB 3 format, the creation of the W3C Audiobooks format (a profile of the W3C Web Publications format) and is incubating the innovative DiViNa format (for Digital Visual Narratives.

This section describes these publishing standards and offers links to detailed information.

EPUB 3

EPUB, the industry standard for digital publications, is suitable for content authoring, interchange, and distribution of ebooks and long-form articles. EPUB 3 is based on open technologies used on the latest Open Web Platform.

The current version of the standard is EPUB 3.2. EDRLab has been a contributor of this specification and is actively promoting its use in Europe. This version is compatible with the original EPUB 3.0.1, meaning that every publication compliant with the original version is still compliant with EPUB 3.2. You can consider the new version as a better written specification of the same standard.

The EPUB 3.2 specification is found here.

A large list of EPUB resources can also be found on the legacy IDPF website.

More information about EPUB 3
Anatomy of an EPUB 3 file

W3C Audiobooks

Until 2020, there was no standard interchange format for audiobooks. For every audiobook publication, recording studios are creating audio files, insert basic metadata inside these files and send them to different e-distributors using custom formats, as requested by these distributors. As the number of publishers, distributors and booksellers is moving up quickly, the lack of standard is becoming a real burden.

The W3C Publishing Working Group decided in 2019 to create such a standard, based on the W3C Web Publication model previously studied by this group, and EDRLab took an active part in its specification.

W3C Audiobooks is now a Candidate Recommendation and the W3C Publishing working group is expecting implementations and feedback on the standard. This is a perfect timing, as this corresponds to the strategy of “media equality” followed by EDRLab.

Publishers will exchange audiobooks with distributors using the W3C Audiobooks format. An audiobook which is not protected by the LCP DRM will be distributed in this format, as a package or as an online stream. The W3C Audiobooks format will be transformed inside Readium toolkits into an internal model specified as the audiobook profile for the Readium Webpub Manifest. If an audiobook is protected by the LCP DRM, the LCP encryption tools will convert it into a Readium styled audiobook package, which will retain the original W3C Manifest and entry page (if any).

In 2020, Readium will therefore support on Mobile, Desktop and Web:

  • W3C audiobooks as LPF files, without DRM
  • W3C audiobooks as online streams
  • Readium audiobooks as packaged files, optionally protected by the LCP DRM
  • Readium audiobooks as online streams.

The first development will be achieved on Thorium Reader, which is the only user-facing reading app we control. It will be released before April 2020.

Note that W3C Audiobooks will be moved to Recommendation when two independent successful implementations of the format can be demonstrated.

DiViNa – Digital Visual Narratives

Bande dessinée, Comics, Manga, Webtoons: these different variants of the same art (the 9th art in France), that we have decided to call Digital Visual Narratives (DiViNa), are experiencing different market growths: booming in Asia (1), strong in the US, nascent in Europe.

EDRLab created a working group in 2018, which goal is to create an open interchange format and develop authoring and reading solutions supporting this format, with partners representing the different stages of a publishing production and distribution workflow, i.e. authors, publishers, booksellers and national libraries involved in digital preservation.

The work has reached a milestone in Q1 2020, with the release of two “levels” out of the four levels of complexity planned for this format. The specifications of the DiViNa format are maintained here.

(1) see IDBOOX article, 2019 data, from AJPEA : All Japan Magazine and Book Publisher’s and Editor’s Association

Other projects

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Readium

The Readium projects provide rock-solid, performant building blocks and applications for processing EPUB3 publications. EDRLab is participating to the Readium codebase maintenance and evolution.

Discover the Readium projects

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Accessibility

Support for people with print disabilities is a key part of our mission. We collaborate with European publishers and major inclusive organizations on the creation of a born-accessible ebook market. We also make sure that Readium projects take into account the assistive technologies used by visually-impaired users.

Learn more about our accessibility efforts

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