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In Praise of Apple’s .ibook Format

Joseph Pearson, of the e-book startup Bookish:

So we were surprised and delighted by some aspects of the .ibook file that iBooks Author spits out. Their extensions to EPUB are done precisely the right way. They’re not done with dollops of embedded JavaScript — a fact that Baldur Bjarnason laments. (You can be sure EPUB’s governing body, the IDPF, is lamenting that too.)

Instead they’ve done it with microformats. […] They’ve said: this stuff is up to reading software developers to implement. Like Apple. Or Amazon. Or Kobo. Or Booki.sh. What we need to do is give the ebook authors enough opportunities to customise the functionality, not recreate it for every single book.

This is exactly the right stance. We’re thrilled to see this, although it means a whole lot of work for us.

Apple’s approach suggests that they think “write once, run everywhere” is no better a strategy for e-books than it has been for any other sort of software.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012