With so many readers available to users, choosing the right output format for your Inkling Habitat content can be complicated. For many of our customers, the question is intimately linked to distribution: do they distribute through Inkling’s e-readers or to other reading experiences?

Our off-the-shelf e-readers, such as Axis for mobile and Axis for web, or a customized e-reader created with our software development kit (Latitude), offer the richest reading experience for content developed in Habitat, but we also offer export to the EPUB format, either standard EPUB3 or EPUB optimized for Kindle or iBooks. Which is best for your readers?

There’s no right answer, of course, but in this post, we’ll give you more insight into the pros and cons of exporting to EPUB3 rather than distributing content direct to Axis or Latitude. Here are a few things to consider as you evaluate your own needs:

First, what’s an “EPUB Package?”

When you hear “EPUB package,” you might think Kindle or iBooks, but it’s actually another standard which differs from either of these. Like a Kindle or iBooks package, an EPUB package is a zip file full of content goodness that is meant to display properly on an e-reader or e-reading application. An EPUB package, however, conforms to a set of guidelines created by a wide group of publishing, software, and accessibility and hardware professionals called the International Digital Publishing Forum.

The EPUB guidelines are meant to to support the creation of eBooks and eBook readers that don’t rely on proprietary software or libraries. Theoretically, any EPUB package should be readable on any EPUB-compatible e-reader. However, while it is a good common denominator, EPUB packages aren’t consistently supported by the e-readers of the world.

The Difference Between an EPUB Export in an EPUB Reader and Inkling Habitat content in Axis/Latitude:

EPUB is interoperable and interactive, which is great. But what’s the difference between an EPUB 3 export package from Inkling Habitat, our collaborative cloud authoring environment, and Inkling content built for an Inkling reader experience? There are several, all worth considering when choosing your format:

Need:  EPUB:  Inkling:
Offline reading X In native mobile apps only
Works with screen readers  X X
Widgets resize for devices  No X
Widgets collect data  No X
Poptips (information presented in context as a pop-up tip)  Converted to links X
Inkling-specific widgets (fliptips, slidelines, etc.) Depends on the e-reader X
Right-to-left language support  X Not at this time

Which should you choose?

Most Inkling customers choose the best of both worlds: Inkling content and readers for mobile and online users, EPUB export packages for users who need desktop offline access to content.

And the decision will keep getting easier: as we continue to develop Habitat, we’ll be adding more of the good things that the EPUB standard has to offer to Inkling native content. We’ll also keep offering the very best exports we can to the EPUB, Kindle and iBooks formats that many of our customers need.

To learn more about Inkling Habitat, request a demo from our sales team.