Monday, May 23, 2011

Update to Audio and Video in EPUB miniguide

Thanks to all who have bought my Audio and Video in EPUB miniguide. The response has been overwhelming and I am really honored. I hope you're finding it useful.

Over the weekend, thanks to feedback from Barnes & Noble, I figured out how to get audio to work in both the iPad *and* NOOK Color, without having to resort to mp3 files: you create an m4a audio file and make sure to declare it in the OPF file as audio/m4a.

You might ask why I worry about NOOK Color at all if independent and self-publishers are not yet allowed to sell enhanced ebooks through Barnes & Noble's PubIt program. The answer is that I believe that it's important for your ebooks to work in as many platforms as possible. If there's a code that works in more than one place, that's the code we EPUB developers should be using. B&N doesn't accept enhanced ebooks now, but they may well do so in the future. And your books will be ready. In addition, you can always sell your enhanced ebooks on your own website, and you will want them to be usable in as many ereaders as possible. Finally, using universal code never hurts, it only helps.

I have updated the Audio and Video in EPUB miniguide to reflect this change, as well as some minor edits--including the erroneous holdover paragraph in the introduction that said I was offering the miniguide for free to current owners of my EPUB Straight to the Point book. The truth is that I dithered about how to offer this Audio and Video in EPUB miniguide right up to the last moment, although in the end, I decided not to give it away, but to sell it for $5. Sorry for the confusion.

I have sent download instructions for the updated version of the miniguide to all those who bought it already. If you don't get them, feel free to drop me a line and I'll send it to you again. I have also updated the file that is available from my store, so that if you buy the guide now or in the future, you'll automatically get the new version. It's labeled May 23, just in case you want to confirm.

As always, let me know if you have any doubts or questions.


  1. Not a question specific to this update, but more general: your guide covers how to convert an existing book in Word or InDesign to ePUB, but in my case I'm planning to create a version of an existing website in ePUB format. (It's an educational site on a specific topic, with lots of instruction and guidance; I think a lot of the visitors to my site would appreciate having it available in ePUB format for easier reading and offline reference). I hand-coded the site and it's laid out and formatted with CSS, so it seems like it would be a straightforward process but I'm trying to figure out the best way to put this into ePUB without having to use Word or InDesign. Any thoughts?

  2. @Brad. I guess I would write the content.opf and toc.ncx files by hand. I think some people would opt for Sigil, but I'm wary of it changing my files, as it sometimes does. You could conceivably create a copy of your files, use Sigil to compose the two XML files, and then check to see if your files have been changed and/or just copy back in your original HTML files.

  3. Thanks, I'll give hand-coding those two files a try, using the 'under the hood" guidance in your ebook.

  4. Hello Liz

    Is it possible to play mp3 audio ( from external url ) within epub without leaving ibook?. Everytime I press the button from epub, its leave the ibook and play on the safari.

    mp3 files are hosted on the server and not in the epub. Not declared in opf file.

    In windows media player, it can play mp3 file using playlist (m3u format). I have no idea how to do playlist with quick time in epub.

    Best Regards


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