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A standard format for ebooks defined by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF)

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epub is a standard format for ebools defined by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF)

The current standard is Epub 3.0 defined at effective October 11, 2011.

The format defines the structure of the file and the items and their structure that must be in the file.

The basic structure is a zip file, this includes the book to be read which is a set of XHTML files and other resources. There is a package description which includes

Publication metadata — mechanisms for including and/or referencing metadata applicable to the entire Publication and particular resources within it.

A Publication manifest — identifies (via IRI) and describes (via MIME media type) the set of resources that collectively compose the Publication.

A spine — an ordered sequence of ID references to top-level resources in the manifest from which all other resources in the set can be reached or utilized. The spine defines the default reading order of the Publication.

Fallback chains — an optional means for Publications to define an ordered list of top-level resources that can be considered content equivalents that a Reading System can choose between for rendering.

Bindings — an optional means of associating script-based implementations with custom media types.

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