Polytechnic

The personal brain-dump of Garrett Coakley

The line between book and Internet will disappear

The secret among those who have poked around EPUB, the open specification for ebooks, is that an .epub file is really just a website, written in XHTML, with a few special characteristics, and wrapped up. It’s wrapped up so that it is self-contained (like a book! between covers!), so that it doesn’t appear to be a website, and so that it’s harder to do the things with an ebook that one expects to be able to do with a website. EPUB is really a way to build a website without letting readers or publishers know it.

But everything exists within the EPUB spec already to make the next obvious — but frightening — step: let books live properly within the Internet, along with websites, databases, blogs, Twitter, map systems, and applications.

Hugh McGuire on the future of books and publishers as API providers.