With EPUB readers and other tools, the days of lugging a backpack or a heavy bag of books is over.
Starting almost 20 years ago, eBooks, also known as e-books or electronic books, brought digital books to anyone with a computer and an internet connection, and small file sizes meant that even slower connections and underpowered devices could download and view lengthy eBooks without the inconvenience of purchasing a book in a bookstore or waiting for it to be shipped direct to your door. Due to their digital nature, eBooks, on the other hand, can be downloaded immediately to a computer or personal device, fully cutting out shipping times and the lag between a purchase and receipt of a book.
In fact, decades after being introduced to the public, many books and textbooks are available today only in a digital format, which generally reduces costs to publishers and readers, and is also better for the environment as paper-based products are eschewed for digital equivalents that are much more easily sold and consumed.
Read on devices such as a laptop, phone, tablet or a dedicated eBook reader, eBooks are digital copies of their printed counterparts, and they allow additional functionality not available in hard form. With features such as seamless annotation and quick searches that would be impossible with a physical book, eBooks provide increased comfort and convenience for anyone that wants to take their reading material with them wherever they go.
For these reasons and more, by the early 2010s, eBooks had started to outsell hardcover books in the U.S., and by 2014, almost a third of American adults had read an eBook. By that same year, half of all American adults owned an e-reader or tablet, further bolstering the idea that eBooks were here to stay.
One of the first widely available digital reader tools was created in 1993 by Adobe. But unlike digital text that can wrap and fill the screen, their PDF format encouraged the proliferation of image-based pictures of text that would need to be shrunken or expanded to fill the view, and highlighting or searches weren't possible on what were essentially digital photocopies.
Other eBook readers came and went, each supporting one or a limited number of formats, which led to the further fragmentation of the eBook market over the next few years. But in the late 1990s, a group of scholars, enthusiasts and others developed the Open eBook format, which focused on portability and utilized the emerging technologies of XHTML and CSS to separate the text from its layout and display, enabling perfect reproduction without zooming or awkward scrolling that had beset Adobe's PDF format and other similar, image-based readers.
The Open eBook format would later lead to the open EPUB format, which Google and other tech leaders have supported ever since, converting many public domain works into this new and open format. Short for 'electronic publication,' EPUB is a technical standard published by the International Digital Publishing Forum, and became the official standard of the IDPF in 2007, replacing the aging and non-dynamic Open eBook format. Endorsed by the Book Industry Study Group, EPUB 3 is the industry standard for eBooks today, and is supported by almost all software and hardware readers.
Complete with reflowable text and fixed-layout content, such as those found in illustrated books and other graphic-heavy texts, EPUB files are highly similar to HTML web pages and accommodate both raster and vector images, as well as metadata and CSS styling. Additionally, bookmarking, highlighting and note taking, as well as resizable fonts, changeable text and backgrounds are all possible with most EPUB readers, and there are also provisions for digital rights management as an optional layer.
By 2010, the EPUB format received its first maintenance update (2.0.1), with the EPUB 3.0 format being released in October 2011, and a maintenance update that followed in June 2014. By this point, EPUB files supported precise layout and specialized formatting with Fixed Layout Documents, which brought comic book and MathML support. On January 5, 2017, the EPUB file type was updated to EPUB 3.1 and underwent various reorganization and clean-up efforts, introducing new font formats and remotely hosted sources to the official standard.
Used by readers on Android, iOS, macOS and PC, but not Kindles, which use Mobipocket or other proprietary eBook formats, EPUB is the most popular digital book format available, and can be read on just about any device, from laptops to tablets, phones and other digital readers. Indeed, even Google Play Books on Android and Apple Books in iOS are capable of reading EPUB books, and, because the format is open, anyone can create an eBook reader for the many EPUB books out there.
But herein lies the problem. Because there are so many EPUB readers out there, and you can read the same EPUB book on your phone, tablet and laptop, syncing your reading, notes, highlights and other annotation becomes a real pain in the you know what. Sure, you can start reading on your phone while waiting in line, but when you open your computer to continue, you've got to load your book, find your place and copy over any notes you might need.
That's where we come in. At Neat Reader, we've created an EPUB reader for anyone that consumes EPUB books on multiple devices. It's the only EPUB reader in the world that supports cross-platform synchronization, so when you switch from your phone to your tablet, back to your phone and then later to your laptop, everything is sync'd and saved, and you don't have to spend hours cross-referencing different reading blocks for important notes and highlights. Even if you've got a few minutes to spare, you can tackle that next chapter without fumbling for bookmarks and wondering if you've accidentally jumped ahead and missed something important, knowing that when you switch back everything will be neatly synchronized for you.
Available in a web app or as a separate download , Neat Reader is a cross-platform EPUB reader that supports cloud storage and multi-end synchronization for worry free reading on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac and the Web. Open and read EPUB files on any platform and enjoy the beauty and simplicity of a seamless reading experience with the best EPUB reader available, Neat Reader.