Should You Convert Your EPUB 2 Files to EPUB 3?

Illustration of person with glasses holding a book

The EPUB 3 standard has been around since 2011.  Initially, both publishers and eReader makers were slow to adopt the new format. Because most eReaders weren’t supporting EPUB 3 files, publishers weren’t publishing EPUB 3 files.  Because most publishers weren’t publishing EPUB 3 files, eReaders weren’t supporting EPUB 3 files.  

Fortunately, that stalemate has long since ended and EPUB 3 files are now widely accepted.  But many people are still producing EPUB 2 files.  Which is understandable, workflows can be difficult to change and the jump from EPUB 2 to EPUB 3 does require some effort.  Here are some reasons why EPUB 3 is definitely worth the effort. 

HTML5 for Structure and Navigation

EPUB 3s use HTML5, the language of the modern internet. HTML5 introduces a number of semantic tags that help pages define a cohesive structure.  This creates a much more intuitive experience for readers accessing content with assistive devices.   Semantic HTML tags also make your code easier to read and easier to work on.   

EPUB 3 for Improved Accessibility

The EPUB 3 format offers a number of improvements to content accessibility.  For example, EPUB 3 files support MathML, an XML-based mark up language for representing mathematical equations.  Previously, complicated mathematical equations would need to be represented by static images, making them unscalable and inaccessible to users of assistive technologies.  MathML fixes these problems and creates a more accessible experience for all users.  EPUB 3 files are also compatible with a free, open source accessibility testing tool called ACE by DAISY, making them much easier to validate for accessibility.

Features Features Features!

The EPUB 3 format brings support for images, audio, video and more. Imagine a text book with built in learning checks (quizzes). Or imagine an author bio that links directly to your web presence.  Simply put, the EPUB 3 format allows you to provide your readers with a more dynamic and interactive experience. 

If this sounds like a decision you’d like to make for your business, we recommend you seek a content management consulting firm.  A good content management consulting firm will be able to make the transition feel seamless and may even be able to help you make improvements to your current workflow. 

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