This is an update on an important issue that has the potential to undermine the success of the eBook industry. As many of you already know, the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) is finalizing its plans to “merge” with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). OverDrive, along with other concerned companies in the industry, opposes the plan. We have banded together as the “Save the IDPF. Save EPUB.” Committee.

Libraries and schools, like many others in the eBook ecosystem, depend on EPUB.  For more information about how you can help save EPUB, please join us for an open conference call on Friday, Jan. 13 at 10:00 AM ET (15:00 GMT). Contact us at for the dial-in information.

It’s not a good deal because it’s not a merger.

Members of the IDPF were asked to vote on a proposed “merger” of the IDPF and the W3C. To be clear, the planned “merger” is not a merging of the IDPF and the W3C: it’s a transfer of assets from the IDPF to MIT as U.S. host for W3C, followed by a dissolution and liquidation of the IDPF. The IDPF will cease to exist as a trade and business organization. Its assets – its intellectual property – the main one being the EPUB standard, trademarks, logos, et al. will become the property of MIT. Technically, EPUB won’t even be owned by W3C. And, the W3C has made no commitment to maintaining the standard.

Walled gardens could re-emerge

If the EPUB standard is not maintained, the eBook industry will revert to the “wild west” it once was. This will only create more “walled gardens,” and readers will be underserved.

There is a way to save EPUB

You need to know that there are alternatives to this merger, and we would like your help in ensuring the future maintenance of the EPUB standard. Our committee has drafted a ten-point plan for revitalizing the IDPF as an independent trade organization. The committee has also secured commitments from companies willing to help finance a revitalized IDPF.


The time to act is Now!

The IDPF is pushing hard to get this deal done by the end of the month. At that point there is no going back. Please join us for an open conference call on Friday, Jan. 13 at 10:00 AM ET (15:00 GMT). Contact us at for the dial-in information. If you can’t join the call, but want to express your concerns, please email us!

Thank you for taking the time to consider this important issue.  We’ve all worked hard to build the eBook industry – let’s not let an ill-considered plan put it at risk.


Steve Potash, OverDrive

Sameer Shariff, Impelsys

Matt Shatz, Open Road Integrated Media

Fran Toolan, Firebrand Technologies