Spooked By iPad, ePub’s Custodians Promise Overhaul

The agency that oversees the ePub digital publishing format had plenty of warning a revolution was coming. It’s now published a paper, four days after iPad’s release, admitting the electronic book standard has a litany of failings compared with tablets’ snazzier features.

According to a working group established by the International Digital Publishing Forum to improve.ePub, there are “13 main problems with the format“, including no support for rich media or interactivity, no support for newspaper or magazine articles, insufficient metadata and layout options, no support for languages like those in fast-growing China, and more.

The iPad appears to have been a lightbulb moment for the forum, whose working group, after much criticism, now wants to add these and other features to take ePub from version 2.0.1 to 2.1.

Apple’s tablet, and its iBooks app, supports the format – but a wave of publishers is now looking beyond ePub and toward snazzier standards. Penguin Books’ CEO said last month: “We will be embedding audio, video and streaming in to everything we do. The ePub format, which is the standard for e-books at the present, is designed to support traditional narrative text, but not this cool stuff that we