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18 August 2018
Tools for academic publishing: why it’s worth knowing about EPUBs Print
Thursday, 24 July 2014 11:20
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DRUSSA’s resident technology guru Caite McCann gives us the inside intel on the most popular format in digital publishing

Don’t be afraid of the word EPUB. If it’s not already a part of your lingo, you’ll soon be throwing it into your sentences as often as you say PDF. As we all know, the PDF has become the world’s open standard for electronic document exchange. EPUB (short for electronic publication) takes the PDF concept and adds bells and whistles. Like a PDF, an EPUB is a free and open standard format, but in EPUB form, which is another way to describe an ebook that will adapt to be readable on any device from a computer to a cellphone to a Kindle and beyond.

 

What does an EPUB offer?

Firstly, like the PDF format, the EPUB format is free. Secondly, you only need to create your EPUB/book once – the format is compatible with any display device, and gives the reader the option to optimize their EPUB for their device of choice (which means you don’t have to create a different format for every single device, as in the past).

Compatible device display is very handy in the academic environment where students and communities use cellphones while other stakeholders may own e-readers, in their brand of preference. In short, EPUB makes it really easy for academics to publish for a range of audiences.

As a reader, you can download an EPUB on any of your own devices, and read it when you have time.

“In short, EPUB makes it really easy for academics to publish for a range of audiences”

Value add: you can create an EPUB from academic material you already have

An EPUB programme (more about this next) will allow you to simply prepare research papers, dissertations or theses, course material for students, presentations or supporting material for conferences, a series of newsletters or blogs, etc. in an ebook format. This creates the potential for creating more value and a broader audience for your academic work. You can also obviously create a textbook from scratch, or you can automatically convert an existing formatted publication into an EPUB format (license dependent).

 

How to begin?

If you are publishing for the first time there are simple tools that will help you get your new publication looking like a publication, and there are plenty of programs that will help make this process easy. A simple place to begin may be with Adobe, they offer an online tutorial service called Adobe for Academics that will equip you to do this. Take note – it’s not hard.

“An EPUB programme (more about this next) will allow you to simply prepare research papers, dissertations or theses, course material for students, presentations or supporting material for conferences, a series of newsletters or blogs, etc. in an ebook format. This creates the potential for creating more value and a broader audience for your academic work”

EPUBS in the textbook publishing world

Many publishing house that supply textbooks are now switching to EPUB, because it allows students to buy their textbooks online. Added perks is that readers can both annotate the content or make personal notes about the content on their own devices. On some devices text can be ‘audioed’, i.e. they can choose for the text to be read out loud to them. This is of benefit to people who have learning disabilities and to people who are visually impaired.

 

Technology check

EPUBS were created to address a number of problems that arose in the digital publishing world. For example, have you ever loaded a document on your mobile phone, only to discover that when you actually have time to read it later, you have to do a complicated zoom and scroll to actually work your way through the text? Well, that won’t happen with an EPUB – it is not just another word processing format. There is a long technological explanation for what EPUB does, but in short it allows any ebook to be simple to read on any screen, no matter what sort of device your reader is using. It also automatically publishes the most concise format to suit devices of any size, which reduces the end product size, conveniently reducing download times.

 

Read more about EPUBS here


Caite McCann is the Information Systems Manager for OSD and the Drussa Programme

Admin@drussa.net

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