ePub chapter 1: Introduction

Everything that’s analog is becoming digital; books are no exception. With the advent of e-ink devices, and tablets like the iPad, more and more people are doing their reading digitally. If you want your writing to reach a broader audience, you should know how to create files for these devices.

An eBook is the digital media equivalent of a conventional printed book. The most prominent eBook formats are EPUB, MOBI, and KF8.

What ePubs Are

The EPUB format is an open standard that was developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) used in many different devices to display books, newspapers and magazines.

This format, unlike PDFs, is designed to flow; that is, content is not laid out on set pages with a set layout. Instead, pages are created by the device dynamically. This is what allows e-readers to change things like font size on the go.

Devices that supports ePub files :

  • The iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch,via iBooks.
  • Android devices, via FBreader
  • The Nook
  • Sony Readers
  • The Kobo Reader
  • Any Windows, Mac or Linux machines, via a number of programs.
  • Many more devices

ePub is a zip package which has an extention .epub. It contains several XML files, any number of HTML files, one or more CSS files, all the images for the publication, font files and possibly a few audio files. All of these files work together to create the eBook experience.

Three standards in one

EPUB consists of three separate IDPF specifications, although in practice, it’s safe to refer to them collectively as EPeUB:

  • Open eBook Publication Structure Container Format (OCF): Specifies the directory tree structure and file format (ZIP) of an EPUB archive.
  • Open Publication Structure (OPS): Defines the common vocabularies for the eBook, especially the formats allowed to be used for book content (for example, XHTML and CSS).
  • Open Packaging Format (OPF): Describes the required and optional metadata, reading order, and table of contents in an EPUB.

Additionally, EPUB reuses several other standards, such as XHTML version 1.0 and Digital Accessible Information SYstem (DAISY), for specific types of content within the EPUB archive.

Design your own

You might have software on your computer right now that can create ePub files; you just don’t know it.

  • InDesign is capable of exporting to the ePub format. This is very convenient, because InDesign is pretty much mandatory in the publishing world; most people putting together books are probably already using it.
  • Calibre: This program can convert many different formats to ePub, so it’s a great tool to have in your kit.

These tools are useful only when you won’t need to do any customized work involving styling. Any time that you want to work with the CSS within the .epub document to do customized styling, we suggest you to use an HTML editor. I believe the main advantage that the HTML editor offers is total control of CSS, which InDesign or any other ePub designing tool failed to provide.

These tools are useful only when you won’t need to do any customized work involving styling. Any time that you want to work with the CSS within the .epub document to do customized styling, we suggest you to use an HTML editor. I believe the main advantage that the HTML editor offers is total control of CSS, which InDesign or any other ePub designing tool failed to provide.

ePub Creation Step-By-Step with an HTML Editor