Today the World Wide Web Consortium and the International Digital Publishing Forum have completed a merger. The new initiative, called Publishing@W3C, will use web technologies to improve publishing, authoring and reading of interactive eBooks. The goal is to make an eBook a self-contained ecosystem with rich interactions using dynamic documents, search, and multimedia. The self-contained part means that the web elements can work even if you’re offline, without needing an always-on connection. Work is underway on APIs and packaging formats to enable these eBooks to act more like apps or web pages. The move could dramatically overhaul the ebook market, which is currently dominated by Amazon, with Apple’s iBooks as a distant second. It remains to be seen how having the W3C’s weight behind an ebook standard could affect the market, but it could give authors, publishers (including independent authors), and readers more options. It could also have a big impact on the textbook industry.
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