Scrivener and epub 3 format

I’m exporting my book for the new iBooks 3.0 which supports auto-updating for new editions and corrections. I uploaded a newer version of my book but it never showed up as an update in iBooks. I called Apple and the very helpful representative told me that the format of my book is in epub 2 and the auto-update feature only works in e-books that are in the epub 3 format.

Is there any way to get Scrivener to output to this format? I realize iBooks 3.0 is pretty new, but it would be great to take advantage of this auto-update feature.


Supporting ePub 3 from a production side is a lower priority right now in the industry, because support from the display side is still effectively non-existent. There are a few exceptions (newer iPhones and all iPads (though I hear iBooks 3 for iOS 5 is horrific, but that’s hopefully a temporary problem), but nearly every ePub capable reader out there is looking for ePub 2 format books, and it will be a number of years before we can safely say that most of the people with a Nook, Sony, and the many other ePub capable readers on and off the computer, are using ePub 3 compliant loading. So to put it another way, it’s important that the hardware and display software folk (like Apple) start supporting the format post haste, so that adoption rates start to gradually kick up as devices are upgraded in the coming years, but there is much less urgency from our end, as producers, until that point is reached.

That said, ePub 3 was designed with graceful fall-back in mind. In theory an ePub3 book that doesn’t try to do anything fancy should open fine even on an older Nook. In practice however, if you aren’t using fancy layouts or audio/visual material to begin with, there really isn’t a reason to risk a book that displays poorly or not at all for some people. Hence, you’ll find most ePub conversion and production tools out there right now don’t even have ePub 3 on their to-do list yet.

As for the more technical side of the problem, I’m not even sure if Apple’s own HTML generator (which we use to convert your Scrivener draft) is capable of producing HTML5 yet, which is necessary for ePub3 compliance.

Thanks for the reply. The rep said that Pages does not produce epub 3 format but that iBooks author does, so I’m pretty sure Apple’s internal generator won’t produce it yet. Maybe with the next OS?

Well, it’s too bad that things are the way they are, but it’s understandable. Thanks for the detailed explanation!