The introduction of Amazon Kindle has brought about a technological revolution in the world of publishing. Kindle showed us that we could take books and make them electronic. The first Kindle designs were not exactly what techno-savvy enthusiasts wanted, but the newest versions, and ereaders by other companies, are getting thinner and more innovative. Kindle also brought about an interest in ebook publishing. XML has found a place in the world of e-publishing via technology known as EPUB.
Electronic Publication (EPUB)
Electronic Publication (EPUB) is an open ebook standard from the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). One of the advantages of EPUB is its ability to work with familiar technologies such as XHTML, CSS and of course XML. Technically, EPUB is the XML format for reflowable digital books and publications. Reflowable means that the text can adapt to a display device used by the reader.
Addressing Content in an EPUB
EPUB is arranged in three parts: addressing content, package metadata, and archive. The EPUB content, the guts of your book, is almost always written in XHTML. This is referred to as addressing content. There are a few rules to creating the content section of an EPUB book.
- The content must validate as XHTML 1.1.
- Images must be local to the ebook — this means you cannot link to images on the web but must place a copy of the image in the same file as the book.
The formatting and styling for the XHTML content is done through a cascading style sheet (CSS).
XML in the EPUB Documents
The text is clearly a vital part of the ebook. However, the majority of the files written for EPUB are in the XML format. A series of XML files provides the framework and structure of the ebook.
Bundling an EPUB
The end process for creating an EPUB document is bundling all the files into a zip-format. This is what makes EPUB work as one file. The actual ebook consists of a number of files linked together. It is bundling that makes your ebook ready for distribution.
The process of creating an ebook through EPUB is not difficult, but it is specific. There are strict rules and formats that must be followed every step of the way. Keep on eye on About.com for more articles regarding this innovative form of e-publishing. In future articles, you will find things such as the advantages of EPUB, the process of creating each file and software that might make EPUB easier.