What Are the Benefits of the IDPF-W3C Merger?

w3c, idpf, epub, ebooksA self-appointed “Save the IDPF, Save EPUB” committee has recently formed to publicly attack the IDPF/W3C combination plan and announce a campaign of its own with the goal “to keep the IDPF going as a standalone trade organization.” This group sees the combination as a “threat to the long-term health of the ebook industry.”

Their communications contain significant misinformation about IDPF and our plan to combine with W3C (IDPF sets the record straight here). But the concerns they raise about the future of EPUB within W3C underscore EPUB’s critical role in today’s ebook value chain. While IDPF is not a book industry only organization, and EPUB is not just an ebook format, I think it’s useful to examine the question of what the combination will mean specifically for the book industry.

EPUB will be in the mainstream, not a silo

The primary motivation to combine IDPF with W3C now was to ensure that EPUB’s future will be well-integrated with, and in the mainstream of, the overall Open Web Platform (on which EPUB is fundamentally based). The world needs an accessible, mobile-ready portable document format, not one stuck with a paper-replica model. EPUB has successfully delivered on this but has not yet been widely adopted across all parts of publishing. Meanwhile, W3C has been working for more than two years on a concept of “Portable Web Publications” and continues to be supportive of enhancing publishing features throughout the Open Web Platform.

Much more.

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