FOR THE EPUB3 GROUP
Possible content in EPUB3 Wishlist:
Speaking as a poet there are two totally overlooked content issues, of which one is VITAL for a whole genre/industri:
The following image stems from my blog (most, but not all, in Danish http://krabat.menneske.dk/kkblog/2010/11/02/poetry-and-reflowing-text/); In this and in a previous entry I exemplify the consequences of reflowing text on poetry – EPUB and PDF.
In the image you will see a visual overview of what a page of poetry could easily contain. Contrary to many people’s opinion poetry is not broken prose – it is very often a graphic totality, which would benefit infinitely more from a graphic perspective than from the present ebook format horisontal line perspective on how text is perceived. And now, since even pdf is going towards auto-reflowing on many ereading devices, poetry no longer has a home in digital litterature – at least not on ereader devices.
Not to repeat myself, but to stress the importance of this – and also directed at people who do not read poetry, but might find the task interesting from a technical perspective:
Poetry on ereader devices need to be able to retain their design as a fixed format, all the way from conception to ereader device. Imagine a painter, who got his images broken up or colors changed to more aestetically pleasing on an ereader device for reasons of screen size or reader’s eyesight or aestetical preference!
A poet often works with breath (pauses) imbedded in the text as a form of score for the reader to decode – the breath of the poem is then what MAKES the poem. Without, it is just a mangled text, which is neither poem nor prose.
An easy way out would be to publish poetry in a graphic format like the Comic Book Archive file, CBZ, which is just jpg’s in a compressed Zip, and displayable in dedicated programs and apps. But this would place poetry OUTSIDE of mainstream litterature – literally sidetrack a whole litterary genre AND demand of ebook device producers that they specifically cater to poetry! I don’t see that happening. Do you?
So, can EPUB3/HTML5 be used to code poetry AND KEEP the text fixed and UN-reflowable by design and intent all the way from production to ebook devices?
2. Bi-lingual text.
Poetry is not the only area, where text in two languages is presented simultaneously on facing pages – this is also quite normal in language education. For this to be possible on an ebook reader device there would have to be a choice possible:
a. see both pages in landscape mode
b. portrait mode defaults to either right or left page, depending on which language one wants. Call it “rehearsal mode”: both languages are seen in landscape mode, flip device: the language being learned in portrait mode, flip device: check double pages in landscape mode to see if the learned language is being understood correctly, flip device: go on reading in the language being learned.
I thank you for your efforts,
former chairman of the poets at The Danish Author’s Union
formerly on the board of directors