“If there is such a thing as media theory,
there should be format theory.
Writers have too often collapsed
discussions of format into their analyses
of what is important about a given
medium. Format denotes a whole range
of decisions that affect the look, feel,
experience, and workings of a medium.
It is also names a set of rules according
to which a technology can operate”
A brief history of
1969: General Mark-up Language
1981: Standardized General Mark-up Language
1994: World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
1996: Daisy Consortium Digital Talking Books
1998: NIST conference
Book Industry Standards Group WG
1999: Open eBook Publishing Standard
2006: International Digital Publishing Forum
(IDPF) and EPUB 2.0
“The mission of the Publishing Working
Group is to enable all publications—with all
their specificities and traditions—to become
first-class entities on the Web.”
“We can look at it
as a cleanup of
epub to make it
Publishing @ W3C Chair
16 Apr 2017
How does ISBN interface with the Web?
ZIP or MIME?
Version control and authorship?
Scroll or pages?
Can standards be PWP-compliant?
e.g. Next Generation PDF
Working group 11 June 2018
Resolution 4: readingOrder
preferable to spine
• Does integration with the
Web diminish EPUB’s
A place for books?
N.B. PWP might never be implemented –
most publishers still use EPUB 2.0
Reducing all publications to a single meta-
specification will have casualties
Will this decision strengthen Amazon’s
stranglehold on linear digital
The End of Ebooks?
Publications and the
future of digital