Reader asks: Why not use HTML instead of ePub?
March 22, 2009 | 3:27 pm
By Paul Biba
I got an email from Bill Smith asking the below question. It’s a good question, and something I’ve thought about myself. Not being that sort of techie, I don’t know the answer. Perhaps some of our more technically inclined readers can answer Bill’s question in the comments section. I’d like to know the answer, also. (Update: And Joseph Gray has provided a good one. – D.R.)
In the "format wars," I’m idly wondering why HTML is not the defacto ebook format. I don’t mean to harsh on epub but the big selling point of epub is "it’s a standard format, just converted XML/HTML." My question is "what’s wrong with HTML in the first place?"
Epub requires a dedicated piece of software and it’s not *quite* an industry standard because some dedicated readers can’t digest it.
HTML can be read by any PC–with the explosion of netbooks and expectations by year’s end of sub-$100 netbooks and Android-based mini-laptops, this is a HUGE market.
HTML is easily saved to .txt from within most browsers.
HTML is DRM free and can be saved and backed up to your computer or USB drive at will.
IPod touches, Iphones and many cellphones can read simple HTML pages.
Users can adjust text font, size and text/background color combination to suit their personal preferences.
Many of the dedicated ebook readers can decipher HTML…and honestly, anyone who has a dedicated ebook reader has a PC and easy access to conversion software from HTML/txt to whatever ebabel format their device uses.
In short, it seems to me that epub may someday be the standard ebook format…but HTML is the logical universal format that *is* used and understood around the world. It’s available right now, not someday.
(Not meant as a slam or an insult on epub…I just don’t understand its advantages. I don’t see why epublishing is pushing epub instead of simply embracing HTML.)