<p>Does everyone have their own cat videos? I sure do. Here are Nighty and a very small Momo playing the box game.</p>
<video controls="controls" poster="image/poster.jpg" width="384" height="276">
<source src="http://www.elizabethcastro.com/epub/examples/catbox2.mp4" />
<source src="http://www.elizabethcastro.com/epub/examples/catbox2.wvm" />
<p><a href="http://www.elizabethcastro.com/epub/examples/catbox.mp4"><img id="poster" width="384" height="276" src="image/poster.jpg" alt="poster" /> Click to play the video</a> and then return to read the rest of the book. </p>
The only problem is that Adobe Digital Editions is the only EPUB ereader that properly displays the fallback message.
But it's nice. If you click the link, your default browser opens, and the video plays.
Unfortunately, if you open the EPUB file on the NOOK, or in Kobo (even the Kobo for iOS app), or even if you open it in iBooks without internet access—and thus the video cannot be displayed—you get varying things—sometimes the poster image, sometimes controls but no video—but no fallback content.
Fallback leads to video for Kindle booksBut what about Kindle? Suppose you take that EPUB3 file, and pass it through KDP, or Kindle Previewer, or KindleGen, which all do the same thing—convert an EPUB file to KF8/mobi. And yes, they work on EPUB3 files as well as EPUB2 files. Next, open that converted mobi file in a Kindle Fire.
The fallback text, photo, and link appear, and better yet, when you click the link, Kindle Fire sends you to the browser, and plays the video. When you're done, the back arrows take you back to the book.
If that's not enough, stick it on Dropbox, and open your Dropbox app on an iPad. Once it's been copied, click the Open in another application arrow (upper right corner) and choose Kindle for iOS. Again, the fallback text, photo, and link appear, and when you click them, the video plays. It's true that you get an error message, but I'm guessing there's a way to get around that, but regardless, the video plays anyway. As if it were in a special window inside the Kindle iOS app. And when you've finished watching the video, click Done, and you go right back to the book.
So let's sum up:
1. So far, you can only play an embedded video right on a page in an ebook in iBooks and NOOK. But B&N won't let self- and indie publishers add such books to Pub It!.
2. You can play external video files right on a page in an ebook only in iBooks.
3. The fallback text doesn't appear in NOOK or Kobo.
4. The fallback text does appear in ADE and—if you convert the EPUB3 file to KF8/mobi—it also appears in Kindle Fire and Kindle for iOS (perhaps other Kindles too?), and all of these let you play the fallback video in an external browser.
5. An added caveat: I haven't uploaded a book to KDP with a link to external video. I can't guarantee that such a thing is permitted.
6. This opens up a lot of possibilities.
You can download the mobi file here. And if you liked this post, consider subscribing to my blog so I have time to write more!