unofficial ePub logo by Travis Alber

We’re happy to announce the first tool in our own API series, the BookGlutton Epub Converter. It’s a simple way to create the IDPF‘s open ebook format, ePub, from basic HTML files. The REST-like interface allows developers to do conversions from anywhere on the Web, be it a backend script or a frontend form for their users. The curious can play with the tool on our site, where we’ve put up some documentation and a test form.

Now, I know I’ve voiced concerns about the ePub format before, so at first glance it wouldn’t make sense for me to build a tool which creates more of it. The short explanation is that if we make this format accessible to independent, open-source Web developers and tech-savvy Web readers and writers, a collective outcry may have more sway in future renditions of it. So please, create some ePubs with this. If you’re curious about the internal XML workings of the format, rename your epub with a .zip extension, unzip it, and open the files up in your favorite text editor. Then ask yourself how the format could be improved for you, and tell the IDPF what you think.

We’re committed to being open and we hope that developers in the online book community will not only want to use the tools we develop, but will also feel encouraged to develop their own. As always, we welcome suggestions. Developers out there: what services or data would you like to see us make accessible to your own sites? Users: what tools might make reading online easier and more fun? Let us know!