IBM standardizing on EPUB to reduce digital barriers and increase mobile support

February 13, 2014

SEATTLE, WA – 13 February 2014 (PRESS RELEASE): International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a collaboration to develop a white paper highlighting lessons learned from IBM’s recent decision to support EPUB as the company’s primary packaged portable document format.

EPUB is the widely adopted open standard format, for digital publications, developed by IDPF, based on HTML5 and other technologies from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), as well as technologies from IDPF. IDPF is a trade and standards association with over 300 members in over 45 countries.  Increased client demand for mobile solutions, accessibility through the cloud, and the transformational opportunities both pose for enterprise content are the key drivers for IBM’s move to the next-generation portable document format. By standardizing on EPUB, IBM is also extending its leadership in accessibility and delivering a richer user experience and engagement.

“We applaud IBM’s innovation in adopting EPUB across the spectrum of enterprise content and in its education solutions, to create a better reading experience for its content across devices and the spectrum of individual needs,” said Bill McCoy, Executive Director, IDPF. “We look forward to collaborating to showcase lessons learned by a global IT leader in order to help other enterprises and content publishers move digital publishing onto the Open Web Platform.”

IBM also recently joined IDPF as well as the Readium Foundation, a consortium formed last year to develop open source tools libraries to accelerate adoption of the latest IDPF standards and bootstrap the development of compatible reading solutions. Over 40 industry leaders, including IBM, are contributing funds, people, and technology to advance the Readium effort. IBM will also be promoting EPUB based workflows in its IT solutions for e-learning and education publishing.

“We are now in an age of extreme multichannel publishing which makes open web technologies and standards that are based on them such as EPUB more important than ever.” said Frank Gilbane, Founder of Bluebill Advisors and the Gilbane Conference. "EPUB has already become a critical component of publishing industry infrastructure for book publishing and is especially interesting for modern textbooks and other collaborative book applications. IBM’s adoption of EPUB for enterprise documents is a significant endorsement for using EPUB for a much broader set of enterprise content applications.”

“Accessibility and other EPUB features will redefine what we know as textbooks by expanding its utility to all students, including those with speech, hearing or vision challenges, to ensure they have the same opportunities to gain skills and training to compete in the 21st-century workforce,” said Michael D. King, Vice President, Global Education Industry at IBM. “By having digital content available on mobile devices of their choice, we can create more engagement from students, while also helping teachers teach in the digital world that students live and play.

For additional statements of support for this announcement, please see the quote sheet at http://idpf.org/news/ibm_adopts_epub-supporter-quotes. Learn more about IBM’s accessibility initiatives and join the discussion with IBM on Twitter,Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. [UPDATE (Feb. 14): IBM published their own online article  about the initiative.]

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