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Some titles in our
EPUB is not a single file but a container with several
files and folders.
Books is supplied in a ‘container’
ebook looks like one file, but it isn’t.|
container has several files, including the text, images, data and in the case
of EPUB, all ZIPped into a single file.|
|Cascading style sheet (CSS), and your ereader browsing software, provides the
way the book looks.|
The container has a number of files which are all zip
compressed. You do not need to understand what goes on inside the container so
what follows is only for the technically curious.
You can use any of the standard programmes to
uncompress an ebook to look at the component files but you will need to change
the extension from .EPUB to .ZIP, and back again, before you can read it as an
Some files are mandated but the others depend on the
converter employed and the type of source file. Do not move the components files
about (as if you would!) without understanding all of the pointers within the
- mimetype: This is the information about what kind of file this is and
the formats involved. Leave this alone.
- META-INF/ This is the folder where the data of the book is located.
There is always a container.xml file but the others are not always present.
- container.xml This XML file points to the file defining the contents
of the book, basically the .OPF file.
- Encription.xml holds the encryption information on the contents of the
container and might point to a web location for special fonts
- manifest.xml is an optional file
- metadata.xml another optional file that version 3 will probably not be
- rights.xml An EPUB file can optionally contain DRM as an additional
layer, but it is not required by the specifications. In any case this is the
file where all the information should go.
- signatures.xml Digital Signatures are a special tag which is normally a
web link but should not concern a writer.
- OEBPS/ folder where the file or files for the book, the chapters,
images and metadata. Then there are some sub-folders with the actual book
content (The names of the folders can vary). OEBBS – Open E Book Publication
- TOC.NCX This file has the TOC navigation pointers.
- .OPF file is an XML data file which describes two things:
TEXT/ Inside this folder, all the text in the book is formatted with
xhtml (almost like web pages), and it can be separated in sections for better
reading or in one large file. But the content might sit in the OEBPS root as
an xhtml file.
IMAGES/ The folder has all the images, including the cover. EPUB accepts the formats normally used in web. There are <ahref> tags in the
text that point to the images.
STYLE/ This is the folder where the format of the book is defined
using CSS but you would be well advised to let the ebook generator handle all
of this. But you might just have a single file called TEMPLATE.CSS.or style.css - This is a basic CSS format
FONTS/ It is possible to embed fonts into the container
myfont.otf, but this can also go in the STYLE/ folder.
|The list of HTML content files in the publication which contain the
actual text of the book along with images and formatting|
|The metadata of the eBook (Title, Author, Publisher, Cover, ...)|
|book.opf or content.opf are common names for the publication file
and explains how all the components of the book work together. The manifest
lists all the files in the package and the spine lists the XHTML content
documents giving their normal reading order. |
IDPF (International Digital Publishing Forum)
for more info and detailed specifications.
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