Re: Minutes from EPUB.Next

I hear you and you have good points but I think that EPUB can actually serve as both, and here's why/how.  In the ebook space, the way this is going is that epub will largely be used as a transport format between organizations. When it travels that "last mile" to the end user, it is first processed on the server and then sent down to the user's web browser as HTML (spine item by spine item as requested by the user agent). Usually this includes sending down some J JavaScript to enable content type appropriate features such as a sidebar TOC, Search in book, relflow, page numbering et (but it would be great if some of that got built into browsers...).  What previously prevented this from being done much in the ebook space was content protection issues (lack of it). This has now been solved to the satisfaction of the largest publishers, and so we'll be seeing a lot​ more of that technology being used by end users in 2022.  There are a ton of reasons why this is better than sending down the entire zip file at once in many use cases (time required to display content being an obvious one, enabling use of standard web metrics and analytics tools another). And, depending on business rules, the content can potentially be stored locally for offline reading, either in its atomized form or saved out as an EPUB.

For document centric platform-native applications (e.g. standalone eReader apps for mobile and desktop) developers already have to display the content in an ebedded browser view in the app as they need the modern browser engine to render the html content. And so, the exact same technical "streaming" approach can be taken as in the browser user case, or you can simply import and EPUB file into the app (which processes it just like the server does on the web model), which then serves the HTML into the embedded webview component (Readium apps do this now for example)

So, you get the best of all worlds, documents, consumed as HTML in Browser apps -and in browsers inside apps -  loading quickly, with all of the wonderfulness of web standards and web applications. Plus a containerized file format for exchanging an instance of a document between people and organizations for the fewer and fewer use cases where end users are, and will be in the future, doing such a thing.

It may well be that from a "focus" standpoint, that it is better to focus on one of the two categories you describe in order to make the most headway. And it is true that software that people already have is the most convenient for them, which give a lot of weight and advantage to the legacy proprietary formats and closed source software. But, that could change quickly. e.g. just imagine if Adobe added EPUB support to Reader and open sourced the component!


From: Leonard Rosenthol <>
Sent: Thursday, October 28, 2021 11:20 AM
To: Siegman, Tzviya <>; PBG Steering Committee (Public) <>; W3C Publishing Business Group <>; <>; <>
Subject: Re: Minutes from EPUB.Next

Sorry I was unable to attend the meeting – too many other standards going on right now.   I did, however, have a chance to review the minutes – thanks to Tzviya for providing them.

Ignoring the incorrect information about PDF, its use as a document format and its ability to be made accessible (in compliance with national and international standards, including WCAG) – I did want to comment on the larger question about “Replacing PDF”

Andrew and Tzviya said it very well at the end of the meeting – people who are moving away from PDF for publications are moving to the web (aka HTML).  We’ve talked to many customers in many segments around the world on this particular topic.  What we learned is that they are choosing to do so for a variety of reasons including (but not limited to):

- They know what the web is (and the corollary, they don’t know what EPUB is)

- Everyone has a web browser (and the corollary, they don’t have EPUB Readers)

- They already have tools that produce HTML (and the corollary, they don’t have EPUB tooling or don’t know how to use it)

- They can easily update the material and ensure that recipients are always looking at the right thing.

So as mentioned by a number of folks – this group needs to figure out whether the goal is to provide a better reading/consumption experience “on the web” (aka in browser) *OR* to compete with PDF as a packaged format for “off the web” content distribution and consumption.   As others said – trying to do both isn’t working well for EPUB…


From: Siegman, Tzviya <>
Date: Thursday, October 28, 2021 at 12:03 PM
To: PBG Steering Committee (Public) <>, W3C Publishing Business Group <>, <>, <>
Subject: Minutes from EPUB.Next

Hi All,

Thank you for attending our community meeting on 27 October.

Here are minutes<>.

We plan another community-wide meeting in about 6 months.

Thank you,


Tzviya Siegman

Information Standards Principal



Received on Friday, 29 October 2021 15:37:47 UTC