Inclusive EPUB 3

Article Contents

The Inclusive EPUB 3 guide is intended for content creators and educators who wish to use EPUB 3 and are interested in making their published content broadly usable by a full spectrum of users.

This guide covers a broad range of topics that will help make an EPUB 3 book more usable in different contexts. The information provided illustrates how concepts may be applied but won’t make you an “expert” - you are encouraged to use this guide as a starting point and to follow the resources provided to gain additional insight.

What is EPUB?

EPUB is an ebook format which is a container for web content that can be distributed as a whole and interpreted by supporting EPUB reader systems. At its most basic, EPUB is a ZIP archive of:

What does EPUB offer?

EPUB is an open format managed by the International Digital Publishing Forum (or IDPF) - a group of industry stakeholders who are primarily technology and content providers. The latest version of the EPUB specification is EPUB 3.

Why Choose EPUB 3 over HTML5?

EPUB 3 is a way to package and distribute HTML 5 content. Therefore EPUB 3 can be perceived as a way to distribute web content offline and includes unique features that make the EPUB 3 format more suitable for page-by-page consumption and academic settings. Whether you choose straight HTML 5 over EPUB 3 largely depends on your requirements and your content.

EPUB 3 is a viable content distribution format because it:

Building Inclusive EPUB 3

EPUB 3 books are increasingly diverse and complex; similarly, so are its end users. Due to the wide variety of personal devices available, the different environments in which users consume content, and the varying ability of each user given their context and environment, publishing a single book that can be used across this spectrum can be challenging.

To improve an EPUB 3 book’s utility across all these devices, environments, and contexts - the following is a guide to help an EPUB 3 author create more inclusive publications.

Broadly, the approach to making an inclusive EPUB 3 publication takes the following into account (we will go into more detail on each point shortly):