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Getting Started with EPUB

Graphic of laptop showing an open book on screen, with laptop surrounded by open books. Credit: Shuttertock, Belozersky

Thursday, April 25, 2019

2:00PM – 3:00PM ET


Luis Pérez and Lynn McCormack, AEM Center
Richard Orme and George Kerscher, DAISY Consortium


K-12 Educators, Families, Postsecondary and Workforce Development Professionals


Would you like to make reading more accessible for all of your learners? Consider publishing your own EPUB books or documents. This flexible format supports the customization needed to meet the needs of today's diverse readers. With EPUB, learners can adjust the text size and depending on the reader application, choose different fonts, change background colors, and more. In this session, you will explore some of the advantages of publishing to the EPUB format, how to read EPUB  with a number of free tools and how to get started creating your own EPUB publications. 

Webinar Slides

Digital Handout

Webinar Recording

Questions from Webinar

Below you will find answers to the questions we did not get to during the webinar.

Where can we get a sample of EPUB that has a diagram and navigable page numbers that we can show senior managers? And what reader would you suggest?

The title featured in Richard's demo, Early Childhood Education Today, is available as an EPUB from VitalSource (and it includes accessibility metadata). The player used for the demo is the VitalSource Bookshelf application for Windows. That combination should allow you to demonstrate the navigation features highlighted in the demo for your managers. 

Just to clarify: Do all files need to be edited properly before it can be convert to EPUB?

That is correct. You need to make sure you have followed accessibility best practices (properly nested and marked up headings, descriptive hyperlins, alternative text for images, etc.) and performed an accessibility check before you export your source file out of the authoring application and into the EPUB format. As Richard mentioned during the webinar "garbage in, garbage out" when it comes to the conversion from the source file into EPUB.

Can you recommend a program or software for teachers to create accessible EPUBs?

A number of word processing applications support export to EPUB: Google Docs, Pages (Apple) and LibreOffice. With Google Docs, you can use the add-on Grackle Docs to perform an accessibility check prior to the conversion to EPUB. Remember that Google Docs does not support the page numbers, which is a requirement if the book has a print version.

As mentioned in the webinar, the goal is to make the process as easy as possible so that more teachers can create their own EPUBs. This is the goal driving the development of an add-in for Microsoft Word, a word processing application already familiar to many teachers. The add-in from DAISY Consortium will add a button to the Ribbon - with just a few clicks it will be possible to export an accessible EPUB (with page number navigation) from Microsoft Word!  Follow the DAISY Consortium for the latest developments on this front. 

Visit our Getting Started with EPUB page for additional information about authoring tools (free and commercial). Sigil is a free, cross-platform option for creating EPUB 3 files but it requires some knowledge of HTML and CSS for the best results. It also requires a change in the preferences to export to the latest version of EPUB (EPUB 3).

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