All about EPUB, the eBook Standard for Apple's iBookstore

Overlooked in much of the hype about the iPad announcement was a comment by Steve Jobs in the Keynote presentation where he mentioned that the iBooks app for iPad would take advantage of the popular EPUB format for electronic books. Since we're all going to get a lot more familiar with this format in the near future, we felt it would be a good time to provide our readers with more information about EPUB.

EPUB is the same format used by the popular Stanza app for iPhone and iPod touch. It's a free and open standard format created by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), and it's designed for reflowable content that can be optimized to whatever device is being used to read a book file. The IDPF has championed EPUB as a single format that can be used by publishers and conversion houses, as well as for distribution and sale of electronic books.

The format is meant to function as a single format that publishers and conversion houses can use in-house, as well as for distribution and sale. It supports digital rights management, something that's sure to warm the cockles of the hearts of publishers, but there's no DRM scheme that is currently specified as part of the format.