New Digital Book Standard Released

October 29, 2006

The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), the standards and trade association for digital publishing, announced today the release of a new technical standard to facilitate digital content creation, distribution and use by consumers. In addition to the Open eBook Publication Structure (OEBPS), an XML standard for authoring digital books, the IDPF has now released a new standard for packaging a digital publication, including the contents of the publication, metadata, signatures, encryption, rights and other information into one standard file. Entitled the Open eBook Publication Structure Container Format (OCF), the new IDPF standard will allow publishers to release a single standard file into their sales and distribution channels and will also enable consumers to exchange unencrypted eBooks and other digital publications between reading systems that support the new standard.

"The new container format provides a simplified method of packaging a digital publication into a single file, thereby making it easier for publishers, resellers and others to deliver and utilize digital reading materials," stated Nick Bogaty, IDPF Executive Director. "The OCF specification has widespread support from all sectors of our industry including publishers and software companies."

The standard specifies a ZIP-based packaging format that is an extension of OASIS' Open Document Format Standard (ISO/IEC 26300). The OCF specification and additional information can be found at http://www.idpf.org/ocf/ocf1.0. OCF files can easily be identified by the file extension ".epub".

"Today's announcement heralds the beginning of increased title availability and lower costs for publishers entering the eBook and digital reading market," stated Neil de Young, Hachette Book Group USA. "Over the coming months we will be working with our vendors and partners to transition our entire eBook publishing program to the OCF standard," he added.

Over forty publishers, technology companies and organizations were involved in the OCF Working Group, the committee responsible for the creation of the standard, including Adobe Systems Inc., Benetech, DAISY Consortium, eBook Technologies Inc., Hachette Book Group, Harlequin, HarperCollins, iRex Technologies, Mobipocket (An amazon.com company), netLibrary, OverDrive Inc., Random House, Simon & Schuster, WGBH and many others.

Publisher Adoption

Both trade and academic publishers plan to use the OCF standard to deliver files through their distribution channels using the standard file. The OCF will be used in workflows where an electronic publication is sent from a publisher to a distributor or retailer and when an electronic publication is delivered to a consumer using software or hardware which has implemented the standard.

"Defining a single delivery format is a huge achievement for the industry. It simplifies production processes and promotes distribution of many more titles than are currently available," said Ken Brooks, VP, Global Production and Manufacturing Services, Thomson Learning.

Many IDPF member companies have announced service offerings to produce digital publications using the OCF standard including codeMantra, Green Point Technology Services, Publishing Dimensions, Rosetta Solutions, Inc. and techbooks.

Software Implementation

Numerous software and hardware companies have also announced implementation plans for the new standard. Software implementations will allow publishers to save considerable time and expense in delivering digital content, enhancing the flow of content to consumers. Also, implementations of OCF will increase interoperability between software. Announced implementations are:

Adobe Implementation – http://www.adobe.com

Product name: Adobe® Digital Editions
Implementation Time Frame: Public beta available now
Product Details/Features: Natively supports PDF and OCF-packaged OEBPS content, based on in-preparation next-generation OEBPS specification.
Product URL: http://www.adobe.com/go/getdigitaleditions

eBook Technologies, Inc. Implementation – http://www.ebooktechnologies.com

Product Name: eBook Publisher
Implementation Time Frame: Public Beta Mac Tools supporting OCF available now; Windows and Server OCF support coming in Q4 2006
Product Details/Features: eBook production tools supporting processing of OEBPS, Word, PowerPoint, text and HTML into eBooks for desktop preview and delivery into the ETI Reading System
Product URL:
http://www.ebooktechnologies.com/support_publisher_download.htm

Mobipocket (An amazon.com company) Implementation – http://www.mobipocket.com

Product name: Mobipocket Reader / Mobipocket Creator
Implementation Time Frame: Q1 2007
Product Details/Features: Mobipocket Reader brings rich eBook content to all mobile platforms (Windows Mobile, Symbian smartphones, Blackberry, Palm) as well as desktops and laptops (MS Windows).
Product URL: http://www.mobipocket.com/en/DownloadSoft/default.asp

OSoft Implementation – http://www.dotreader.com

Product name: dotReader with OCF plug-in
Implementation Time Frame: Jan 2007
Product Details/Features: The dotReader is a cross-platform, open source documentation platform that renders multiple XML and other formats and will support the OCF format for the dotReader. The OCF format will take advantage of all of dotReader's capabilities including advanced search and public, private, and group annotations.
Product URL: http://www.dotreader.com

OCF and the Open eBook Publication Structure

OCF requires inclusion of an OEBPS version of the publication, an XML standard for digital books maintained by the IDPF (http://www.idpf.org/oebps/oebps1.2). For reading systems that can display OEBPS files, publishers will be able to simply allow for the sale of the OCF. Platform-targeting or the application of digital rights management (DRM) will be the responsibility of the target software. For content that is not secured by DRM, digital publications in OCF will be able to be exchanged between conformant software, improving content interoperability for the consumer.

In addition to the OEBPS version of the publication, OCF will also allow for the transport of alternate renditions of the publication, including PDF and other targeted eBook formats.

The OEBPS standard is currently being updated in the IDPF. A draft of the next version of OEBPS will be released by the end of the year. The draft updates the standard to include better control of content rendering, navigation, accessibility and alignment with other standards efforts. OEBPS content is expected to offer publishers National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) compliance. It is the production and consumer standard for reflowable digital content.

AAP/IDPF Meeting

On November 29th, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the IDPF will hold a joint meeting to help educate publishers on the use of OCF and the next version of OEBPS in their production and distribution workflows.

The meeting will be held at the AAP New York office. Registration for the event is limited to 50, please visit the AAP website at http://www.publishers.org/conference/index.cfm for registration details.

Additional Relevant Information

Open eBook Publication Structure Container Format (OCF) Version 1.0:
http://www.idpf.org/ocf/ocf1.0

Open eBook Publication Structure (OEBPS) Specification Version 1.2:
http://www.idpf.org/oebps/oebps1.2

OCF Working Group:
http://www.idpf.org/idpf_groups/oebpscontainerwg.htm

OEBPS Working Group:
http://www.idpf.org/idpf_groups/oebpswg.htm

IDPF Specifications & Documents:
http://www.idpf.org/specs.htm

IDPF Working Groups:
http://www.idpf.org/idpf_groups.htm

IDPF meetings & teleconference schedule:
http://www.idpf.org/events.htm

IDPF membership information:
http://www.idpf.org/membership.htm

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