Candidate Stateent - Eoin Noble

The IDPF has succeeded in creating a solid, accessible technology standard for the delivery and consumption of books, and is to be commended for keeping pace with developments in the HTML and CSS standards. This has served readers, writers and publishers capably, but I believe it is now time for the IDPF to address itself to issues in the wider digital reading community:

  • The IDPF represents a body of specialists and motivated bodies that need to be brought to bear on some of the difficult problems that we face in reading on the web today, such as annotations, rich typographic control and archival packaging.
  • The Readium project has the potential not only to be the flagship showroom for the EPUB format that it is today, but ultimately an open-source, defining vision of in-browser EPUB support.
  • While the ebook community is vibrant and knowledgeable, it is also fragmented. The IDPF has an opportunity and an obligation to engage in, shape and support the conversations around the implementation and development of its own standards.

I have worked across a broad range of EPUB-related fields, from hand-rolling and publishing individual ebooks, to working on a wide range of digital reading applications, and distributing EPUBs at a large scale. While at Faber and Faber I created custom multimedia EPUB3 titles, and saw first-hand the proliferation of tools, marketplaces and reading environments that modern publishers must navigate.

Over the past five years I’ve worked on a number of award-winning stand-alone digital reading applications, ranging from highly illustrated titles to poetry and prose. This gives me a breadth of experience in reading interface best practices, trends and pitfalls, as well as reader expectations – all of which I would bring to bear on the Readium project.

At Safari Books Online, a digital subscription library with more than 25,000 books from more than 100 publishers, we have a wealth of experience with browser-based reading at scale and are already wrestling with some of the trickier problems in digital reading – annotation, offline reading, advanced typography and so on. This expertise will be invaluable in the IDPF’s future discussions with the wider web community. 

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