By: Ori Idan, Helicon Books CEO
We have just been informed by the IDPF that the International Standard Organization (ISO) has accepted the EPUB3 as an ISO standard. It is numbered ISO/IEC TS 30135-1:2014 In our point of view these are great news for the publishing industry.
Why is this such a big news?
In order to answer this question we must first understand the need for the standard. A standard is an agreed method to publish some information, in this case a book. The standard is needed by two different entities, first of all the publishers who create the book. The book has to be created in such a method that would be readable by all readers. So the second entity who needs the standard is Reading application manufacturers such as Helicon Books or other companies.
The need for such a standard was the motivation that established the IDPF. The IDPF was established by commercial companies that in many cases are competitors. All these companies felt the need to work together in order to give the best solution for their customers.
These companies include technology companies such as Helicon Books, Google, Apple etc. and Publishing companies such as Hachette, Random house etc. and many other different companies, all have the same goal, to create a method that publishers can use to convey digital books to their customers.
The IDPF is not a standard organization, it is only a consortium of commercial companies. ISO on the other hand is an international organization that is supposed to be independent of commercial considerations. This body orgenizes all national standard organizations. In this case, the EPUB3 standard was submitted to ISO by the government of south Korea (with support of the IDPF) The ISO technical committee had few comments and misunderstandings that they submitted to the IDPF. The IDPF has set up a group of experts to discuss these comments. Helicon Books CEO (Mr. Ori Idan) was part of this group. This group has created the EPUB 3.01 specification which was then submitted to the ISO committe and accepted as an ISO standard.
There are many eBook standards, but this is the only one that was accepted as an ISO standard. This does not mean this is the best standard. What is means is that this standard is accpepted internationally in is used by many companies, both publishers and reading applications manufacturers.
If a publisher has to choose which eBook standard to use, they will probably want to choose the one that as many people can read. This is now the EPUB3.
The IDPF is now planning the next version for the standard version 3.1 that will probably update and replace the current ISO standard.
For more information see the ISO website at: http://www.iso.org/iso/home/store/catalogue_ics/catalogue_detail_ics.htm?ics1=35&ics2=240&ics3=30&csnumber=53255