Readium Open Source Initiative Launched to Accelerate EPUB 3 Adoption

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NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 02/13/12 -- The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) today announced the Readium Project, a new open source initiative to develop a comprehensive reference implementation of the IDPF EPUB(R) 3 standard. This vision will be achieved by building on WebKit, the widely adopted open source HTML5 rendering engine.

EPUB, an XML and Web Standards based format developed by the IDPF, has become a key global standard in the rapidly developing digital publishing industry, enabling digital books and publications to be portable across devices and reading systems. EPUB 3, a major revision of the standard, was approved in October 2011 and is available at http://idpf.org/epub/30. The new version aligns EPUB with HTML5 and adds support for video, audio, interactivity, vertical writing and other global language capabilities, improved accessibility, MathML, and styling and layout enhancements. WebKit is an open source rendering engine for HTML5 and related Web Standards. WebKit is utilized as the underlying engine in many web browsers and applications, including Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Apple iBooks, Adobe AIR(R), Nokia MeeGo(R), HP webOS, and others. Project Readium is focusing on developing a complete reference implementation of EPUB 3 utilizing the WebKit engine. Packaged as a test application for content developers, the Readium codebase will also serve as a steppingstone for commercial reading systems. A proof-of-concept prototype is available now as a Google Chrome browser extension for Windows and Mac OS/X, and the project aims to deliver a feature-complete implementation including an Android(R) configuration by mid-2012.

"Project Readium will significantly accelerate EPUB 3 adoption and increase implementation consistency," said Bill McCoy, Executive Director of the IDPF. "A universal digital publishing format for the open web benefits the entire industry and ultimately consumers, who want the freedom to read on their choice of applications and devices."

Project Readium sponsors and other industry stakeholders welcome this IDPF-sponsored activity (see attached quote sheet). For more information about the project, including how to participate and links to downloads and source code, visit http://readium.org.

About the IDPF

The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) is the global trade and standards organization for the digital publishing industry. IDPF is responsible for EPUB, the open standard digital publication format based on XML and Web technology, and organizes industry events such as Digital Book 2011 at BookExpo. The IDPF is a not for profit organization with over 300 members comprising publishers, vendors, libraries and organizations from over twenty-five different countries. For more information, visit http://idpf.org. EPUB is a registered trademark of the IDPF. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners.

Addendum - Quote Sheet from Sponsors and Supporters

Quoted Organizations: ACCESS, Adobe, Anobii, Apex CoVantage, Association of American Publishers (AAP), Barnes & Noble, Bluefire Productions, Book Industry Study Group (BISG), Copia, DAISY, EAST, EDItEUR, Evident Point, Google, Incube Technologies, Kobo/Rakuten, Monotype Imaging, O'Reilly Media, Rakuten, Safari Books Online, Samsung Electronics, Sony, VitalSource, Voyager Japan ACCESS The concepts of EPUB, the global standard for digital publishing, perfectly matches our strategies to enable users worldwide to enjoy rich digital environments created with advanced software solutions based on open source technologies. The publishing industry's favorable response to the EPUB 3.0-compatible eBook reader that ACCESS announced last year reflects EPUB's strong potential in the Japanese market. ACCESS is honored to be an initial member of the Project Readium open-source initiative and will continue to promote EPUB both in Japan and globally. - Kunihiro Ishiguro, Chief Technology Officer, ACCESS Co., Ltd. Adobe Adobe has been a strong supporter of EPUB 3 and we look forward to continuing to provide our customers with the ability to create and render rich content experiences and compelling eBooks with this format, which enables enhanced interactivity, rich media, global formatting, and accessibility. Adobe welcomes the Readium project as an important step to help foster increased consistency across EPUB 3 implementations. - Nick Bogaty, Director, Business Development, Digital Publishing, Adobe Systems Incorporated Anobii We are very supportive of the Readium project as we believe that the future success of ebooks is inevitably linked to the establishment of a universal format which offers people true interoperability. Anobii is proactively pushing the idea of a 'universal ebook,' an ebook which can be truly read on any device. The current fragmentation of ereading devices and the closed cloud-based systems offered by the mainstream providers are clearly a hurdle towards true interoperability. Choosing the browser route is the smartest and most likely way to quickly put universal ebooks in the hands of readers. - Matteo Berlucchi, CEO, Anobii

Apex CoVantage Readium is the ideal thing for IDPF to do to accelerate the adoption of EPUB 3. It will make it easy for reading systems to incorporate features they might not have the resources or strategic interest to develop on their own, and to do so in a standardized manner that will make it easier for publishers to distribute their publications electronically. Best of all, it will help enable users to access their publications on the widest variety of devices and platforms. Apex is proud to be a key supporter of this important initiative to help ensure that EPUB 3 fully realizes its potential as a major advance that reshapes the publishing landscape in very good ways. - Bill Kasdorf, Vice President, Apex CoVantage

Association of American Publishers (AAP) We welcome the benefits offered by the Readium initiative. The reference implementation will be useful to publishers for their internal testing of content and functionality while helping foster full adoption of EPUB3 by technology providers. We also believe that an open-source reading platform will promote participation and innovation by publishers and the broader industry, to the advantage of the reading public. - Tom Allen, President and Chief Executive Officer, Association of American Publishers

Barnes & Noble Barnes & Noble is an ongoing, active contributor to the EPUB 3 standard, and will eagerly participate in the Readium open source project. - Ravi Gopalakrishnan. CTO, Digital Products, Barnes & Noble, Inc.

Book Industry Study Group (BISG) The Readium open source collaboration should accelerate availability and improve consistency of EPUB 3 implementations, and dovetail with BISG work to develop and communicate guidelines for publishers around best practices for creation of EPUB 3 content. BISG therefore warmly welcomes the Readium initiative. - Len Vlahos, Executive Director, Book Industry Study Group

Bluefire Productions EPUB 3 will be a major step forward for the eBook industry, enabling publishers to deliver new levels of experience and interactivity to readers. Bluefire is pleased to be a contributor and supporter of the Readium open source project to accelerate the adoption of EPUB 3 capabilities. - Micah Bowers, Founder & CEO, Bluefire Productions Copia Much like the Copia platform itself, the Readium Project will help unite content, community, collaboration, and commerce across devices. And fostering a collaborative industry solution for EPUB 3 support based on browser technology is a vital to everyone, especially consumers, as common standards ultimately ensure readers can access content across a variety of platforms. - Ben Lowinger, EVP, Copia Interactive DAISY The DAISY Consortium is committed to open source solutions, including the Readium Project efforts underway at the IDPF. We believe that the Readium Project can help reading system developers create accessible reading systems faster, and we pledge to support these efforts in every way we can. - George Kerscher, Secretary-General, DAISY Consortium

EAST Company Ltd. EPUB 3, which newly features vertical writing, Tate-chu-yoko, and RTL writing direction, is a critical enabler for Japan and the rest of the world to move to open standards for eBooks, along with support for Japanese text layouts. Project Readium should be a major plus for the entire industry and we are delighted to be a contributor to the project. - Kazuo Shimokawa, President, EAST EDItEUR By delivering a reference implementation of an EPUB 3 reading system, and thereby setting a benchmark level of support for advanced EPUB 3 features, Readium will encourage greater consistency across reading systems. Confidence that their content will be readable on a wide range of devices and reader applications will free publishers to deliver more creative, more compelling and more accessible publications. EDItEUR welcomes the Readium initiative - Mark Bide, Executive Director, EDItEUR

Evident Point Evident Point was delighted to partner with IDPF to develop the initial Readium proof-of-concept, and we look forward to continued engagement on this important project to advance the Open Web for digital publishing. - Yuri Khramov, CEO, Evident Point Google Google has been an active contributor to the development of both the EPUB 3 standard and the WebKit open source project, and we're delighted to support the launch of the Readium Project which leverages both technologies. - James Crawford, Engineering Director, Google Books

InCube Technologies InCube, based out of South Korea, has been engaged in the development of EPUB applications such as mobile viewers, PC editor, and ebook DRM since the announcement of EPUB 2, and it has worked with numerous ebook service vendors in South Korea such as Korea Telecom. InCube is very pleased to participate in the Project Readium and will share its technical experience and product knowledge with other members to achieve the steppingstone for EPUB 3 world. - Hyunyoung Kim, Technology Strategy Director, InCube Technologies, Inc.

Kobo / Rakuten

At Kobo and Rakuten we believe in supporting open standards -- it's ultimately what's best for the customer. EPUB standard has long been at the heart of our content strategy, and EPUB 3 provides a solid foundation for the next generation of digital content. As leaders in the development of eBooks we are excited to be able to contribute some of our expertise back into the community through the Readium Project. The production and distribution of a high-calibre EPUB 3 will continue to help us and others connect readers with the content and experiences they love. - Dan Leibu, CTO, Kobo

Rakuten and Kobo jointly support the Readium Project and the EPUB 3 format, which can be to the eBook industry what HTML5 is to the Internet. Adoption of EPUB 3 as the industry standard will enhance compatibility and reliability while delivering a richer user experience and more titles at a lower cost. It is a WIN-WIN-WIN for authors, publishers, and consumers. - Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO, Rakuten and Hisashi Suzuki, Senior Executive Officer, Rakuten

Monotype Imaging We believe that the best on-screen reading experiences are inherently tied to high-quality type. EPUB 3 is enabling eBook publishers to take advantage of nearly unlimited font choice and advanced typographic and styling capabilities. However, a wide variety of display technologies presents significant challenges to ensure consistent, high-quality reading experiences, which are possible when combining type design and font rendering considerations in a single solution. Monotype Imaging is committed to elevating the e-reading experience to its highest level and is proud to support the Readium Project. - John Seguin, executive vice president, Monotype Imaging

O'Reilly Media Ebooks won't reach their full potential until there's one open format that can be created freely by any author and read on any device. O'Reilly has been working on this since the early 90s starting with work on DocBook, the early browser Viola, and the beginnings of the web. The Readium project is an important next step on this journey. - Tim O'Reilly, CEO, O'Reilly Media

Safari Books Online Open standards are the not-so-secret ingredient behind the success of the Web as a rich communication network and global economic engine. The Readium project is an important way to ensure ebooks can participate fully in that Web without depending on any single company or institution, and as one of the first to bring books online, Safari knows how vital that mission is and is proud to support the IDPF. - Andrew Savikas, CEO, Safari Books Online

Samsung Electronics IDPF has been a great help to the publishing industry by leading EPUB standards. Samsung has made efforts to contribute to establishing complete and reliable standards. We are pleased to join the Readium Project to open up the new electronic contents' world together with other supporters. - WonJoo Park, VP, Software R&D Center, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

Sony Corporation Sony has been an early and consistent supporter of EPUB including the latest EPUB 3.0 version. Sony is therefore very pleased to collaborate in the Project Readium open source initiative. - Fujio Noguchi, President, Digital Reading Business Division VitalSource As a long time supporter of reflowable content, and the needs of the accessibility market, Vital Source has participated in the creation and adoption of the EPUB3 standard. We believe the Readium Project will accelerate EPUB3 adoption and are pleased to contribute to the IDPF and Readium efforts. - Kent Freeman, Chief Content Officer, Vital Source Technologies Inc., an Ingram Content Group company

Voyager Japan For more than 20 years, Voyager Japan have proudly dedicated ourselves only to digital publishing business in Japan. We strongly support EPUB 3 becoming the global eBook standard and look forward to contributing our expertise via Project Readium, particularly on Japanese language. - Masaaki Hagino President, Voyager Japan

Contact: Bill McCoy Executive Director International Digital Publishing Forum presscontact@idpf.org