EPub3 eBooks offer a cornucopia of technological promises, but a recent study shows that eReader device manufacturers have been slow to embrace the possibilities. Granted, the statistics are not weighted to emphasize one feature over another. You may find support for “fixed layout” to be more important than support for “font embedding.” But the ePub3 eBook format was launched in October of 2012; publishers and device manufacturers are missing the ePub3 boat. This article suggests possible reasons for the format’s lack of support and suggests alternatives.
The Readium extension for Chrome (Google’s web browser) supports 72.5% of ePub3’s features—and it runs in a web browser, not in an eReader device. Popular dedicated eReader hardware scored lower with Kobo supporting only 46% of ePub3’s features, the Kindle Fire supporting 32.3%, and Barnes and Noble’s Nook supporting only 16.7%.
Notable is that the eReaders offering the best support for ePub3 are those that leverage the capabilities of a web browser. Over 50% of eBooks are consumed on devices other than dedicated eReaders—and most of these devices already include on-board web browsers. I proposed in an earlier post that the browser may well become the preferred eBook delivery channel. That was almost a year ago and only a few major publishers have even shown up at the ePub3 dock. Continue reading →