21 January 2013
I might be the only person to notice but the opening page position of ePub3 fixed layout books with page spreads appears to be a looming problem for all the good production folks out there. Right now it is not an issue for releasing a commercial fixed layout book with iBooks being the only commercial e-retailer of ePub3 FLO books working.
I might be the only person to notice but the opening page position of ePub3 fixed layout books with page spreads appears to be a looming problem for all the good production folks out there.
Right now it is not an issue for releasing a commercial fixed layout book with iBooks being the only commercial e-retailer of ePub3 FLO books working.
iBooks opens the books with a single spread on the right, assuming it is the cover or at least a cover type thing. I guess It is basically emulating a closed print book. Or something. All well and good.
Readium opens the first pages as a spread so the cover type thing is on the left. This behaviour can be modified with spine page-spread positioning properties which Readium does understand.
AZARDI moves it up a notch and does what Readium does unless it finds epub:type properties for cover, title-page and copyright page.
If AZARDI finds the epub:type properties in the XHTML file it will position a cover by inserting rendition:page-spread-center into the spine. Likewise the title page gets page-spread-right, and the copyright page gets page-spread-left.
If AZARDI finds any other fixed layout properties in the spine it will use those and not resort to the default positioning behaviours.
These are arbitrary decisions we made which more or less mimicking a print book, which is of course what page-spread books are trying to do.
The orphan is probably the copyright page which may be after the title page, but may also be positioned somewhere else.
Theoretically there are a number of ePub3 readers coming out later this year or are already on their way. There is a very good chance these will mimic the minimal implementation of the FLO features in iBooks without contributing much more. But they may not as well.
Right now would be a good time for the IDPF or the convening W3C work-group to put this issue on the table and come up with a good set of recommendations. It really matters with FLO books with page spreads.
So for all of you out there making Fixed Layout ePub3 books, take a little time to put the cover/first/opening page align statement in the spine just in case.
You are probably designing for iBooks today, so the suggestion is to just put the page-align-right property in the spine. The hope is that reading systems yet to come will be able to take notice of the spine and the books you have designed today for iBooks will behave the same way on tomorrow's tablet readers.
It's also good practice working with the epub:type property. Who knows, one day it may be more relevant.