PWG Asia Telco — Minutes

Date: 2019-02-17

See also the IRC Log


Present: Tzviya Siegman, Florian Rivoal, Junko Kamata, Dave Cramer, Toshiaki Koike, Jun-ichi Yoshii, Jun Gamou, Avneesh Singh, Wendy Reid, Daihei Shiohama, Yu-Wei Chang (Yanni)



Chair: Tzviya Siegman

Scribe(s): Florian Rivoal, Dave Cramer, Wendy Reid


Tzviya Siegman: let’s introduce each other

Tzviya Siegman: tzviya: Wiley, co-chair PWG

Florian Rivoal: Invited expert, CSS-WG and AB (and other groups), based in Japan

Tzviya Siegman: Avneesh: COO of DAISY, joined with IDPF

Dave Cramer: dauwhe: Dave Cramer, Hachette Book Group, CSSWG, co-chair of EPUB 3 CG, editor of EPUB 3.2

Avneesh Singh: Avneesh Singh, DAISY Consortium

Jun Gamou: Junko Kamata, Toshiaki Koike, Jun Gamo : We 3 are from Voyager Japan, Inc.

1. Overview of Publishing WG work

Tzviya Siegman:

Tzviya Siegman: I plan to giving an overview, but I think everyone here is familiar, so maybe a link will be enough
… additionally, we recently decided to split the work in modules
… main module is the WP, focusing on metadata and manifest
… another module is audiobooks, because of a newly discovered urgent business need
… open to do other modules, to avoid over-focusing on one domain
… interested in feedback

Florian Rivoal: this a both a personal point of view and one I’ve heard from publishers in Japan
… first, on EPUB 3… as you know Japan has a strong EPUB 3 market centered on Manga, and it’s mostly working
… there is not a strong need for anything new
… having improved interop is good
… making sure we don’t break compatibility is extremely important
… but mostly EPUB 3 is working
… so no strong need for new things
… in the longer term, people see a continuing tension between web platform and publishing platform
… many new things in web for typography, a11y, security, etc
… they take many years to reach publishing world
… so the publishing side is not participating as actively as the web side
… merging things so the browser is the book reader would solve this problem
… it’s a worthy long-term goal
… in that context, what has been going on in PWG
… it’s unclear how this achieves these goals
… so no one here has anything against what’s been happening
… audio books isn’t a pressing need
… the work doesn’t do much for the EPUB 3 market, and it doesn’t seem to bridge the gap between publishing formats and what the browsers can do directly

Tzviya Siegman: agree with florian

Jun Gamou: what we expect from WP, is that browsers will become better at rendering Japanese text

Tzviya Siegman: the first part, about EPUB3 being stable
… the CG has been working on further stabilizing EPUB 3 further
… testing should help as well
… EPUB3 is stable, but could be even more

Tzviya Siegman: epubcheck maintenance is important as well

Tzviya Siegman:

Florian Rivoal: on the EPUBCheck maintenance
… it’s good that it’s being maintained
… we should be careful about fixing bugs
… because EPUBCheck defines the spec
… and we don’t want to break existing content

Tzviya Siegman: we’re being careful

Florian Rivoal: there was an issue with the relax NG grammar being updated

Dave Cramer: please report such bugs

Tzviya Siegman: report issues about epubcheck at

Florian Rivoal: I’ll pass the message along, and ask people to report it

Tzviya Siegman: going back to merging publishing and the web
… that was the main reason for the merged between IDPF and W3C
… that’s why I am involved
… I want to see involvement in the WG from people who want that to happen
… we have active participation from people with a different vision
… a lot of people have not seen the business case for publications on the web
… I keep hearing epub/kobo/kindle/… works for me, and people are puzzled about the business case

Florian Rivoal: From my understanding, there is not a pressing business need for the merger of the publishing and web platform
… as of right now, things work. But in the long term, the web is taking on more of these things.
… there are many things that are hard to do today because of the technical lag of the OWP, especially in terms of typography and language
… EPUB is lagging behind the web in this area. Selling books tomorrow is fine, but in the long term, for the benefit of readers, keeping the publishing platform at the same level as the web platform is difficult
… we do not need to do away with packaging or selling books individually. Having a packaging format for browsers is an important thing
… the only long term viable thing is to meet with the web platform

Avneesh Singh: I agree with Florian, the publishing platform needs to catch up with the web platform
… business managers cannot yet see the argument, but we need to make them aware of the long term goal, and the need for it.
… this is not specific to Japan, but to WP in general

Daihei Shiohama: I’ve been speaking to the other Japanese publishers in trade, many are also doing magazine publishing
… in trade publication, EPUB3 is good enough.
… for magazines, or scholarly or academic, they would require web publications
… in W3C discussions, there is a need for those kind of publications to be mentioned

Florian Rivoal: When you say publishers of magazines or scholarly publications, what do you mean? What are the challenges?

Daihei Shiohama: Magazines are using PDF formats
… they want to make use of images and reflowable text
… the same is true in academic publishing, they are using the web for their content

Tzviya Siegman: I don’t think this is different from the rest of the world, the world of magazines has never embraced EPUB
… I work for a large scholarly publisher, they use PDF or HTML
… we could have a lengthy discussion to discuss why that is
… I think we are largely revisiting discussions we’ve had before
… I would like to talk about what it is we can develop from an asian perspective in WP we can get your input on developing, we can thrive
… we would be a step closer to developing the relationship between web and publishing

Jun Gamou: This may not be the main topic, but I would like to mention that mainly trade publishers are interested in DRM
… because EPUB3 distribution systems had DRM, it was used
… if there was a reason to use WP, they would demand DRM modules

Tzviya Siegman: DRM is explicitly out of scope for our charter
… encryption can exist wherever you publish
… if we succeed in creating WP, someone will create DRM

Jun Gamou: We understand

Florian Rivoal: I think this is both a response to tzviya and Daihei_Shiohama
… the case for magazines or scholarly is it’s better on the web than EPUB, but it’s not perfect
… developing parallel solutions is not productive, we need to work with the web
… the one thing WP doesn’t seem to do is get closer to UA implementation
… I hope it is the first thing we tackle

Daihei Shiohama: +1 to Florian

Florian Rivoal: coming up with a packaging format for browsers, if it’s not something browsers want to do, what is the point
… I do not have much to say about web packaging from Google, but strategically it is aligned with what we are looking for
… maybe we should support this effort, or create our own
… we need browsers in the discussion

Tzviya Siegman: As far as a packaging format that browsers will support, all I know of is google’s web packaging
… it was proposed by the TAG, and we have been in talks with jyasskin and Kenji
… we would like to adopt it when it is ready
… if you are aware of other packaging formats, let us know

Florian Rivoal: I am not

Tzviya Siegman: I do not think our group is equipped to provide a packaging format
… unless dauwhe has something ;)
… It’s a large ask. The google project is a large undertaking involving the W3C and IETF
… we have not been as involved as we should be and make our needs know
… if that becomes a true spec, the PWG will likely adopt it

Dave Cramer: I just want to mention one caveat, Mozilla is officially against it so far
… and I think it would require a fair amount of change to work for publishing use cases.
… Those changes are very tied up with issues of security, and makes it hard for us to participate on equal footing

Florian Rivoal: I realize this is both big and difficult as a topic, but it’s central to our effort to improve the web to include publishing
… the two activities are very different

Tzviya Siegman: I would like to change direction a big
… I want to understand if the PWG has supported our asian colleagues well enough
… if a call like this is needed, will it attract more participation
… first question is if you think there are specific issues in your area of publishing that are not being addressed?

Daihei Shiohama: Florian, you should speak up!

Florian Rivoal: One thing that has been very helpful for Japanese publishing, JLReq
… the requirement for japanese language, it helps guide a lot of the work in CSS, and not all of it is solved, but we have a map to follow
… Manga is huge, but we do not have a manga req

Tzviya Siegman:

Florian Rivoal: if you try to compose manga to get better accessibility or richer layouts, without a rec we are working without guidance
… maybe not for a working group

Tzviya Siegman: JLReq->

Tzviya Siegman: I have provided a link to the manga/comics/bandes desinées CG
… many from Readium are involved in that
… I think that the manga req is a good idea, but not from PWG necessarily, or maybe from CSS?
… I have been hearing a lot about the need for manga
… I have wondered if manga is the next module we work on
… I hesitate to take it up too quickly
… we worked on taxonomy for speech bubbles at one point and was very difficult

Jun Gamou: +1 to Florian

Florian Rivoal: In terms of short term market needs, I do not think that WP would be adopted in Japan, the cost benefit doesn’t weigh out
… We would like to take advantage of the richness of the web platform, but it is not a short term need, we need stability

Tzviya Siegman: I would encourage you to work with the comics CG

Daihei Shiohama: I totally agree with florian
… manga is such a huge business
… the whole business doesn’t want to change
… the readers are looking for a faithful reproduction of the print version
… WP for manga, will be a very different product from EPUB3 FXL products

Florian Rivoal: +1

Daihei Shiohama: who needs that, that is the question
… you need more voices from other digital content publishers, gaming companies, mobile app companies
… all the other people engaged in VR, AR, alternate content experiences
… the PWG currently doesn’t’ have those people, we do not hear the need
… trade publications do not need it right now, but there are segments of the industry that could make use of it
… creators of a new generation of content

Tzviya Siegman: I do think it would be very interesting to have a call with the W3C immersive reality group
… the W3C has a whole group working on this
… the brainstorming would be very interesting
… the work is being done here
… There is real interest in moving forward with manga, but florian’s suggestion to move ahead with req’s in the community group
… I would like to figure out, is this meeting helpful?
… would having something like this regularly attract more participation
… do you think it would attract more people?

Jun Gamou: Speaking of time zones, this time is very good
… on the other hand, the main point of the WG is talking about the spec, Japanese publishers do not have a strong opinion on the spec currently
… changing the time zone to be better for Japan, may not increase participation

Jun-ichi Yoshii: It’s very helpful for us to have a call in this time zone, in my opinion, switching time zones frequently is not so good for me
… I prefer to have a fixed time - day or night
… some will have to stay up late, I’d prefer to take the call in my pj’s every time

Jun Gamou: One more thing to add, maybe many of the Japanese people in the industry are not used to expressing themselves in English in real time
… having a meeting to put their thoughts together in Japanese, then report to the group via a translator (like Florian)

Avneesh Singh: +1

Tzviya Siegman: That is a very interesting idea
… I can’t imagine having a meeting that is not my first
… language
… we experimented with a translation tool at a recent AB meeting, it was not very good, we tried the free version
… but the paid version has dictionaries that could add technical language
… a tool like this might allow us to speak more freely in our own languages
… we can consider having a pre-meeting

Florian Rivoal: I would like to return the question
… currently the PWG is dominated by a different perspective, Japan doesn’t have a strong interest in competing with that, but we might need to change philosophy and I don’t want to butt in

Tzviya Siegman: I don’t want to stop what we’re doing, it would increase the work, I think audiobooks is very important
… once we complete the work on audiobooks, we will need something else to keep us going
… we don’t have a clear way forward to merge the web and publishing platform
… I would love to work on scholarly, but Wiley is the only publisher in that area
… I would like to work on Manga, but we need buy-in from the community
… we need participation
… we need the important publishers in the room
… we need to understand the needs and requirements
… a req doc is a good step

Daihei Shiohama: I agree with tzviya and florian, the truth is that the WG after TPI, some companies are leaving, we have lost some participation because of the language issue and membership
… they don’t understand what is going on and don’t know how to speak out
… they aren’t used to the interactions
… even if we have an asian-friendly time, it’s considerate, the language issue is a huge block

Jun-ichi Yoshii: +1 to Daihei

Daihei Shiohama: I still think that the future is in new publication types
… scholarly, education, gaming all are needed

Avneesh Singh: I would agree with the language issues. PWG is where things become finalized, initial things happen elsewhere
… we should be throwing the ball to BG and CG for incubation of ideas and outreach, and the PWG is for writing specs

Tzviya Siegman: We started a CG for publishing, but we need chairs

Tzviya Siegman:

Tzviya Siegman: W3C started a formal-ish incubation process where ideas were formed in the CGs and then it is proposed to the WG
… if we had chairs we could get this off the ground
… it is not a lot of work, setting up a regular monthly call, a github repo, it could be a good outlet for people.
… one last question, should we do this on a regular basis?
… I get the sense that it would be more valuable to address the language issue
… or a pre-meeting
… with a rep more comfortable in english

Jun Gamou: +1

Jun-ichi Yoshii: +1

Daihei Shiohama: +1 to Tzviya

Florian Rivoal: I would be honoured to be the representative, but I cannot chair

Tzviya Siegman: Let me follow up with the chairs on the next chairs call
… which is wednesday, after the next meeting
… please let us know if we are talking too quickly or need clarification
… feel free to talk in the IRC
… I will work with Wendy, Ivan, and Garth to arrange pre-meeting on topics you feel we need to address
… we are sending out the agendas 2 weeks in advance, so flag issues to us if you feel they aren’t being addressed

Florian Rivoal: I wonder if we should also have pre-meeting and a messenger, not just for translating Japanese to English, but also for translating Publishing to Security/Packaging/Networking, so that we can gather study together what google is doing with web packaging, discuss our needs and requirement, and then send a messenger over to push for our feedback.

Florian Rivoal: Since we have addressed that browser packaging is happening, the culture shock between publishing and web is as big as between asia and the US
… participation is better than waiting and seeing

Daihei Shiohama: Great!

Tzviya Siegman: Let’s set up time to talk
… I will send the minutes out tomorrow

Jun Gamou: Thank you, Tzviya and all for the meeting

Toshiaki Koike: thank you

Tzviya Siegman: rrasagent, make logs public