Bookworm’s public home page (the one you see if you’re not logged in) has a new look. This is just one of many changes in the largest update since the site launched in July 2008.
Much more public content and help
When I conceived of Bookworm it was largely a way for me and other developers to experiment with ePub books. ePub isn’t a difficult specification and I felt the best way for me to understand it was to implement it, leaving the ugly parts of rendering XHTML to the browser.
Since July, publishers have been accelerating their release of ePub books, and with more devices beginning to support ePub, it felt like time to re-focus Bookworm away from developers and towards readers and publishers.
To that end, Bookworm now includes a tour of the site, a completely new help page with some suggestions for common problems and a rewritten About page that describes the goal of the project.
There’s a need for more ePub information targeted at publishing technologists: people who are either actively converting to ePub or are still assessing whether the format is a match for their needs. Bookworm is ideally suited as a platform for publishers to test ePubs or to QA new workflows. Much of the new content is written with this audience in mind.
More advanced developer guidelines
Developers’ needs are still very important to me, especially as ePub evolves. Bookworm provides more visibility into how the site implements the ePub specification, and which features of the specification it does and doesn’t support. I’m hoping this can start a conversation among those organizations which already know that ePub is for them, and are moving to the next level to make full use of it.
It’s now possible to add a book from any page on the site, with just one click: try hovering over the “Add a book” link in the upper right. There are other small details that should make the reading experience smoother, too.
Other code fixes and improvements
This release includes a large number of behind-the-scenes changes to expand the range of ePubs that are accepted. I’m especially grateful for a user’s assistance in fully supporting Chinese language content.
I’ve been promising the ability to search individual books or across one’s library for a long time. Putting that off was tough, but I felt it was more important to make Bookworm easier and friendlier to use. Now I’m going to focus on features that will really take advantage of Bookworm’s online nature in a way that standalone readers and devices just can’t do.