Simple techniques for creating 
e-books in EPUB format 
Enhancing student access to learning 
materials 
A/Prof Alistair Broatch, AMC E-initiatives Forum, 3
rd
Sept 2012 
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What are e-books anyway? 
Definition* of e-book (noun)  
an electronic version of a printed book which can be read on a 
computer or a specifically designed handheld device.  
Formats of e-books: 
PDF 
EPUB 
Both formats can be read by most e-readers 
[*Oxford dictionaries]  
http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/e-book  
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Enhancing student access 
MyLO – interactivity dependent upon an Internet 
connection 
Students may want to access learning materials offline 
Many students now use smart phones, e-readers and 
tablets as part of their learning  
Student access increased if they can download material 
in formats suitable for these devices: 
PDF 
EPUB 
Consider providing documents in these formats on 
MyLO 
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Three formats in MyLO 
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Music & Radio 
Video Books 
Podcasts 
Games 
Cameras 
Internet 
Email 
Messaging 
YouTube 
Facebook 
Twitter 
LinkedIn 
1,000’s of Apps: 
Education 
Utilities 
Productivity 
Reference 
Skype 
Facetime 
The Cloud: 
Dropbox 
Google Drive 
SkyDrive 
iTunes U: 
Learning materials 
File 
management 
iPad as a learning tool 
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RasterEdge Barcode Reader DLL add-in enables developers to add barcode image recognition & barcode types, such as Code 128, EAN-13, QR Code, PDF-417, etc.
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IPad screenshot - Notability 
Built in voice 
recorder 
Search 
What is EPUB? 
EPUB  - short for electronic 
publication - is a free and open e-
book standard. Files have the 
extension .epub. 
Many e-books published in EPUB 
format e.g.  UK Open University 
The EPUB format can be read by: 
Notable exception is Amazon 
Kindle (note: can read PDF) 
Nexus (Google Play) 
BeBook, 
Adobe Digital Editions 
Moon+ Reader and WordPlayer 
on Android 
Freda on Windows Mobile and 
Windows Phone 7  
Mozilla Firefox add-on 
EPUBReader 
Kobo eReader 
Blackberry Playbook 
Apple's iBooks app running on 
iOS devices such as the iPhone, 
iPod Touch and iPad 
Barnes and Noble Nook 
Sony Reader 
[Wikipedia] 
EPUB – under the bonnet 
An EPUB is a zip file: 
XHTML files (one for each chapter) 
A Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) * file  
Structural XML files (program files) 
Folders for images (and audio and video) 
*
Note: CSS files make EPUB format standardisation possible – 
useful for ‘branding’ course materials 
PDF or EPUB? 
PDF 
EPUB 
Flowability 
Not reflowable – retains 
format: layout, font usage, 
graphics, etc.  
Reflowable – text 
wrapping, resizeable text, 
change the font, etc. 
Complex tables 
format retained but often 
difficult to read  (font too 
small) 
can be problematic - 
content may need to be 
manipulated 
Search 
Yes 
Yes 
Annotation  
Yes 
Yes 
Copy text 
Yes 
Yes 
Create directly from MS 
Word 
Yes 
No 
Embed audio and video    Yes 
Yes 
PDF or EPUB? 
If format fidelity and layout critical, use PDF – 
but give careful thought to layout suitable for an e-reader (font 
size, spacing, etc.) 
If format and layout not so critical consider EPUB  
particularly suited to mobile devices that have much smaller 
display screens than a computer (e.g. iPhone, iPod touch, 7” e-
readers) 
adjustable font size allows text to flow to fill the available 
display space 
A caveat: EPUBs may behave differently on different devices 
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