Hachette Book Group

Hachette Book Group was looking for a way to provide digital samples of their vast selection of ePubs (electronic publications) and hired Vectorform to create a tool to trim the book’s contents and render them on as many devices as possible.

This proved to be a bit more difficult than anticipated, but nonetheless, I was able to modify an existing JavaScript-based ePub reader to accommodate their needs. Because the ePub standard is still maturing, many attempts at JavaScript readers were lacking in features, used CSS columns for pagination with aren’t fully supported in major browsers, or seemed more like experiments than anything else.

Unfortunately, after reading the ePub specifications, it seemed like too tall a task for me to write on my own. However, understanding all of the components that make up an ePub–which is really just a ZIP archive–came in handy when working with the team that was developing the trimming algorithm for both reflowable text-heavy books and fixed graphical novels.

The end result is a browser-based ePub previewer, called OpenBook™, with support for all of all the latest browsers, including mobile phones and tablets. The previewer has pagination, text zooming, table of contents, full-screen mode, and all the social media functionality you’d expect.

Take a look at this sample of How Google Works and, if your compelled, pick it up from Hachette Book Group, or find another book that inspires you.