Today, it’s easier than ever to write, edit, and publish your own material. Until recently, if you wanted your material to be viewable by the broadest range of people, you were pretty much stuck with using the Portable Document Format (PDF) for your work. PDF is a light (compared to images) format, and allows you to produce print-quality page-size copy in color. But, eventually you will want to dabble with Interactive Media, and you’ll outgrow PDF like your first pair of baby shoes.
Enter ePub. The ePub format takes a standard book-page format (with text and images), and adds the ability to incorporate various multimedia elements (like sound and video). To view an ePub document, you’ll need an ePub viewer. Depending on the device(s) you like to use, several good free ones are available!
Free ePub Readers
Depending on what type(s) of devices you use, you’ll need to find a program or app that will read the ePub format.
- iBooks (iOS) – If you have an iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini, or iPod Touch, iBooks is the way to go. Lots of free books are available from the iBooks Store, and it will view PDFs and of course ePubs. The iBooks Store offers “Enhanced Books” that include multimedia elements embedded in certain pages.
- Booki.sh (Web-based) – Booki.sh is a web-based service that lets you manage and read ePub (and other format) documents online. This is a great option for a user with multiple devices who has Internet access practically any time.
- ePubReader (Firefox extension) or Readium (Chrome extension) – Read and manage ePubs right inside the browser. Chose the one that matches the browser you are currently using. If you’re not using Firefox or Chrome (why not???), try Booki.sh above.
- Adobe Digital Editions (Mac, Windows) – If you insist on reading ePubs on a Mac and not doing it through the browser, Adobe Digital Editions is my first suggestion. Also, some screen reader programs have difficulty navigating and handling ePubs inside a browser window, so Adobe Digital Editions may clear up some of those issues if you’re trying to use, for instance, NVDA on Windows or VoiceOver on a Mac.
- MobiPocket (multiple)- Some of my friends love this one. I haven’t used it yet, but it looks nice. Allows annotation and can be used across multiple devices and platforms. The one-click dictionary is an impressive looking feature as well!
Now that you have an ePub reader, you need an ePub to read! How about this one I made using the Book Creator app on an iPad Mini? It is all about Amelia’s trip to the Cincinnati Zoo with her pre-school class. Book Creator is available for both the iPad and Android tablets.