The Digital Publishing industry convened at the Javits Center in New York City last week for the Bookexpo America (BEA) trade show and the International Digital Publishing Forum’s (IDPF) Digital Book conference.
At Digital Book, IDPF Executive Director Bill McCoy and Book Industry Study Group (BISG) out-going Executive Director Len Vlahos welcomed more than 400 participants for plenary sessions the morning of 27 May. Over the next two days, representatives from the publishing community, including those from a dozen W3C member organizations and staff, participated in numerous Digital Book track sessions addressing current and future industry challenges and opportunities in business, education and technology.
W3C CEO Dr. Jeff Jaffe spoke on a panel, “The Current State of Book Industry Standards,” with standards organization executives Rob Abel, IMS Global Learning, Graham Bell, EDItEUR, Bill McCoy, IDPF, and Len Vlahos, BISG, moderated by Bill Kasdorf, Apex Covantage.
In response to the moderator’s question why there are so many standards bodies in digital publishing, Jaffe first clarified that W3C’s mission is to develop global Web standards, and then added that the different standards organizations bring different models and perspectives that are healthy to have because they are indicators of the extensive transformation and innovation taking place in the publishing industry as a result of the Open Web Platform.
He suggested “A more exciting question is what is going to be the impact of these standards on new kinds of book forms, content innovation and business opportunities, similar to what we have seen in the entertainment industry.”
McCoy concurred that the convergence of publishing and the web provides a new rich environment and emphasized that “all this content has to interoperate in a way that it did not have to before.”
The vision for how this interoperability and new features are being addressed was the subject of the session, “The Convergence of EPUB and the Web,” moderated by Tzviya Siegman, Wiley. Siegman, who together with Markus Gylling, IDPF CTO and Daisy Consortium co-chair the W3C Digital Publishing Interest Group, were joined on the panel by Ivan Herman, W3C Digital Publishing Activity Lead.
During the presentation Siegman explained that the current publishing standards format EPUB3, while based on foundational W3C technologies such as HTML5, CSS and SVG, does not yet have the full feature set of capabilities of the Web. Conversely the Web does not have the presentation features of EPUB such as pagination and other layout features. She explained the progress of the W3C’s Digital Publishing Interest Group to date in identifying specific use cases and requirements through the work of various task forces.
Gylling and Herman further explored the technical aspects of what is needed to achieve the vision of offline and online states of packaged or portable documents which they have begun to document in a white paper. They invited more industry participation in this conversation about EPUB and Web convergence.
The W3C Digital Publishing Interest Group is open to W3C member participation, but others may follow and comment on the work by joining the public mailing list: firstname.lastname@example.org