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On 16/08/2011 2.42, Michael Richter wrote:
Isn't the EPUB format basically just zipped-up HTML files with XML metadata?

Basically yes, but in practice the format is underspecified: there are many grey areas. What's worse, reading devices often enforce arbitrary limitations and introduce extra styling, overriding some of the author's css. You never know what surprises a new reading device will bring.

I had the dubious pleasure to wrestle with so-called ebook 'standards' for a crazy project of mine [1] and I too, as a reader, consider PDF both more portable and more useful than any ebook format: the latter are basically designed for sequential reading.

[1] Just as curiosity, my work is a sort of hybrid between a novel and an adventure game; what can be relevant on this list and topic is the production toolchain that uses Lua in three distinct roles: as embedded language in the 'source' story, as metaprogramming compiler (i.e. that executes embedded functions while producing the 'printed' pages needed for the actual book) and, lastly, for most of the conversion and packing tools:

(I hope this is not considered advertisement: the book is in Italian and the above link contains no references to it; I post it as an example of Lua's usefulness and versatility... and as a warning against targeting ebooks for complex projects with nonlinear structure and a very large number of links)

P.S. I hope to publish the Medusa compiler sooner or later, but that would require documenting it for non-crazy users :-)