Reflowable text with ePub

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Dear All Forum users,

I have been researching a lot on ePub and ePub readers from long back. And, after all, I still feel that I not got a clear idea on reflowability in ePub readers. Following are my queries which needs your clear reply:-

1. Technically speaking, How actually idpf dictates all ePub readers to maintain the reflowability of the ePub book based on the IDPF standards. I mean, how actually texts in ePub will reflow as promised by idpf when we compare this with the pdf (I need a detailed explanation)
2. If I would like to create my own ePub reader by using any of the latest technology, What should be my first step to go through and work on reflowing texts. How should I myself make sure that my reader reflows texts with different ePub books

Hope, someone replies to my query soon.

Ravi Kumar

Hi Ravi, let me try to answer your two questions:

1. Pagination of reflowable content in EPUB 3 is a heuristic process left largely up to the reading system. An experimental specification, EPUB Adaptive Layout, has been created that suggests a template-based moddel for adaptive layout of higher design content but no reading systems implement it yet  Meanwhile for normal reflow content how pagination is done is by design left under-specified so reading systems can do what makes sense in a given situation, for example change from one page to 2-up when the user rotates from portrait to landscape. With basic reflow content you have to think of EPUB like RSS - how Flipboard or another fancy RSS reader handles its article content is not defined by the article itself.  Fixed-layout EPUB on the other hand is more like PDF: a sequence of pre-formatted pages.

2. I suggest you look at the open source EPUB 3 project Readium (, maybe even use it (it is BSD licensed and implementing a full EPUB engine is not a small task). Readium code has done pagination in different ways over the last year, at one point using the new W3C specification Regions until it was disabled by default in Chrome. But the basic model with EPUB 3 (which really expects to be running on a browser stack) is to inject JS into browser context along with the publication content that paginated that content.

Hi Bill,

Thank you very much for your quick reply. I will plan for a workaround on the given points. It helped me.

Ravi Kumar

Would I get the same reply for my above query with respect to ePub2? Because I thought you were referring to ePub3 documents while answering to my queries. Please let me know.

Ravi Kumar V

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