The European Digital Reading Lab (EDRLab), the Paris-based non-profit hub for digital reading and publishing development, has announced that it is partnering with the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) and the Readium Foundation to hold the “first edition” of the EPUB Summit, which will take place in Bordeaux, France, on April 7-8, 2016. EPUB “is becoming the reference format for the digital publishing industry,” proclaims the announcement, and the first EPUB Summit will consider “strategic questions” about the standard, and digital publishing in general.
EDRLab serves as the European HQ for the IPDF, but is itself a very French initiative, backed by French publishing houses like Hachette and the French publishers’ organization, the Syndicat national de l’édition, as well as official bodies like the French Ministry of Culture and the French Ministry of Economy and Finance. It “promotes the adoption of the EPUB 3 standard across Europe, and dedicates resources to Readium open source software developments.” The EPUB summit is running as part of the Bordeaux Digital Week, Bordeaux’s annual digital technology jamboree, at the Librairie Mollat, which claims to be France’s Number One independent bookshop, with over 300,000 titles, and for all those interested in attending, registration is already open here.
Topics confirmed so far include “the development roadmap of the EPUB standard and its companion Readium open-source software,” addressed by “the creators of EPUB and Readium”; the future of EPUB, with presentations of “advanced user experiences and W3C Portable Web Publications”; EPUB in education; demos of “how to create powerful EPUB publications” with “cutting edge editorial tools”; and “digital distribution of EPUB documents.” Speakers confirmed so far include Markus Gylling, CTO of the IDPF and chair of the IDPF EPUB 3 Working Group, Ivan Herman, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Digital Publishing Activity Lead, and Franck Huysmans, co-chair of the EU working group on “Promoting reading in the digital environment.”
Missing from the topics and program so far is the elephant in the room: Amazon and its Kindle Format 8 (KF8) standard. However, EPUB and KF8 are technically very similar, since both derive from the Open eBook standard, and even dedicated Amazonians could probably learn something from the Summit. And given what some European publishers, such as Sweden’s Telegram Studios, have been able to achieve with the EPUB standard, I’d be fascinated to see what’s on display at the Summit. And all washed down with a good Bordeaux too. Sounds like a winner …