Hachette Book Group standardizes on Open epub Format

Today Hachette Book Group announced that it will no longer be delivering eBook content to distribution channels in proprietary file formats, becoming the first major publisher to announce adoption of the IDPF epub standard. This move, coming hard on the heels of formal approval of the core standard just weeks ago, underlines the costs and hassles publishers have faced dealing with a plethora of incompatible proprietary eBook file formats, and many other publishers are expected to follow suit. Additional coverage from The Book Standard and Publishers Weekly.
The increasing mainstream adoption of digital publishing and eBooks – noted in today’s Telegraph – stands to be significantly accelerated by convergence to open interoperable standards for eBooks. Hachette’s move also signals the breadth of support for open standards: this is not one or a few companies getting together to dictate a solution. The IDPF’s nearly 100 members include publishers, technology vendors, trade and textbook publishers, educational institutions, libraries and other governmental bodies, and this group unanimously approved the new epub standards earlier this month. The point is not to advantage any single vendor or publisher, but that the industry as a whole can only grow if we create an open, healthy ecosystem that inspires confidence on the part of publisher and consumers. There’s more work to do – DRM is still a tough nut – but with epub providing the open standard complement to PDF for reflow-centric text-based content, we are well on our way.

One Response to Hachette Book Group standardizes on Open epub Format

  1. bowerbird says:

    common bill, you’re smart enough to
    know a format doesn’t mean much…
    if you want to trumpet something,
    bring out an improved reader-app.
    (although i must admit that i got
    a big kick out of all your pleas for
    a sympathetic break because your
    current d-e viewer is “just a v1.0”,
    as if adobe never did this before.)
    or, if you _really_ want to brag,
    give people a good authoring-tool.
    (and no, if you take a good look
    at that page that gives the gotchas
    for using indesign to create .epub,
    you’ll have to admit that ain’t it,
    and it will take a lot before it is.)
    lots of corporations got “on-board”
    for ms-lit, too. didn’t mean jack…
    “a format doesn’t mean much”? Uh, wouldn’t you agree that the publishing industry has benefited substantially from PDF as a lingua franca for final-form paginated content? That music has benefited from MP3? That movie distribution benefited from the interoperable DVD standard, especially as compared to the prior round of Beta vs. VHS videotape format wars and the subsequent wrangling on HD-DVD vs. Blueray? Having epub ready to play a similar role to PDF for more “liquid” reflow-centric content will, I predict, make a significant difference in the future. But I know you’ve been working on Yet Another eBook Format of your own… hopefully you will soon stop with the irrelevant XML bashing and get on the interoperable open standards bandwagon.
    The team is hard at work on Digital Editions and authoring tools. Stay tuned for more on this in the near future!
    –B ]