A First for EPUB3

An Israeli company, Helicon, claims to be the first to develop an ebook reading app that fully supports the functionality offered in the EPUB3 specification for ebooks.

Currently, no major bookseller’s reading experiences offer the same, according to the Book Industry Study Group’s EPUB3 support grid, which outlines which features each ebook reading app supports. Kobo, however, has announced that it intends to fully support EPUB3 by the third-quarter of 2013 and we hear rumblings that other booksellers may make similar announcements soon.

Why is this important? If all the major booksellers move to support EPUB3, that can open up the possibilities for more interesting and interactive enhanced ebooks while also simplifying and streamlining production processes.

So, will that happen? Not likely any time soon. Some of the biggest booksellers, Amazon and Apple, for instance, may want to continue to use proprietary file formats so that they can better control the kinds of content that appear in their ecosystems and their users’ ability to transfer that content out of the ecosystem and read it elsewhere.

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The rest of the day’s top news:

Never Surrender (paidContent)
Even though his lawyers explain that settling is a natural and accepted part of business, and even though Macmillan has entered into new contracts with its ebook retailer partners that resemble those mandated in the ebook price-fixing settlement, CEO John Sargent has vowed to continue to fight the Justice Department’s lawsuit against his company. Why? Principle. Read his entire letter to agents and authors here.

New Book Discovery Site Bookateria (DBW)
Random House and Publishers Lunch have launched a new book discovery platform aimed at the publishing industry that will generate revenue from affiliate sales and, later on, advertising.

Digital Rising at Random House UK (The Bookseller)
In 2012, digital revenue for Random House UK was about 22% of all revenue. Print is still “central” to the company’s future success, said CEO Gail Rebuck.

Top 12 Digital Publishing Twitter Accounts (DBW)
Need to learn about ebooks and digital publishing quickly? Or just want to keep up? Here are 12 must-follow Twitter accounts.

Children’s Authors vs. Children’s Content Creators (DBW)
There’s a new breed of children’s book authors. They’re so much more than wordsmiths who know how to tell a great tale and they’re changing the publishing industry.

More Ebook Data (DBW)
And that’s a good thing. Nielsen has inked a deal with Kantar that will bring to bear the insights of 15,000 consumers on books.

J.K. Rowling Among Top Ten Tech Blunders of 2012 (GigaOm)
When The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (Hachette) hit e-readers this year, it was, well, hard to read, causing embarrassment for the publisher and author. (Don’t let this happen to you.) That said, Rowling might also deserve credit for one of the most interesting tech moves of the year, launching Pottermore.

Pressbooks Goes Open Source (DBW)
The ebook production application that helps users turn their blogs into ebooks has decided to make its source code available to developers. This could open up the possibilities of where the app goes and what it will be able to do in the future. Incidentally, Digital Book World is using Pressbooks for its forthcoming debut ebook. Stay tuned!

Spanish Self-Publishing (DBW)
Inspired by Penguin, Spanish publisher Roca has launched its own self-publishing portal, Rocatores (roughly, “RocAuthors”). It works a bit differently than most other self-publishing sites we’ve heard of.

Kobo Price Drop (DBW)
In a last-minute attempt to juice Kobo Mini sales before Christmas, Kobo has lowered the price in the U.S. for the device to $49.99 for the last weekend before the holiday.

Original Vanity Dead (PW)
Vantage Press, one of the original vanity publishers, has closed its doors for good. Again, how far we’ve come.


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