EPub files

EPub is an open-standard file format for digital books. The benefit of the ePub format for readers is that it allows a book's text to automatically adjust or "reflow" for different screen sizes, including smartphones, netbooks and e-reader devices.

Whether to submit ePub or PDF files

We recommend that you send us both PDF and ePub files for your books, as we offer our users two display modes: original pages and reflowable text. Providing the PDF file for your book will ensure that readers can view the book in its original layout, while the ePub file will allow them a more customizable experience. In this case, users will have access to a "reflowable text" option in addition to the "original pages" option. They will be able to resize the text, change the font, and view the book more comfortably on screens of varying sizes. Most major publishers are supplying ePub files to us.

In order to have the best possible array of books available with both options, we're converting selected books to the ePub format at our expense when a publisher cannot provide an ePub. Some books are not suitable for ePub conversion because of various factors. As we're unable to convert every book, we encourage you to create your own ePub files.

Validating ePub files

Prior to uploading your ePub files, we recommend that you try opening them using an eReader program such as Adobe Digital Editions. If you are able to open the files using eReader software, this is a good indicator that the file will be successfully processed by our system.

An additional step you can take is to run the EpubCheck tool, a tool to validate ePub files, to ensure that there are not errors in the files you generated. If we encounter issues with processing your ePubs, these errors will appear in your account under the 'Needs Action' tab in your Partner Program account. The International Digital Publishing Forum also offers a Web-hosted EPUB validator.

Optimizing your ePub sample

To provide a better eBook sample experience for Google Play customers, please be sure to indicate where the content starts (after any front matter material such as the title page or copyright page). Follow the links to the specification documents for examples.

Enhanced ePub support

File format

Books on Google Play support audio and video embedded in ePub 2.0.1 and ePub 3.0 files.

Implementation

Audio/video embedded in an ePub should be contained in HTML5 tags, such as in the examples below:

<audio src="xxx" />
<video src="xxx" width="640" height="480" />
<video title="yyy" width="640" height="480" poster="xxx">
  <source src="xxx" />
  <source src="yyy" />
</video>

Only the following attributes will be parsed in books on Google Play:

  • src: Defines the location of the file for video and audio.
  • width and height: Dimensions for video.
  • poster: Defines a static image for the video. Google supports any image format specified in ePub specifications.

Additional attributes will be ignored.

We support a wide variety of audio and video formats:

  • MPEG-4, 3GPP and MOV files - typically supporting H.264 or MPEG-4 video codecs, and AAC audio codec
  • WebM - VP8 video codec and Vorbis Audio codecs
  • MPEG - typically supporting MPEG-2 video codec and MP2 audio
  • WMV
  • FLV - Adobe-FLV1 video codec, MP3 audio
  • AVI - many cameras output this format; typically the video codec is MJPEG and audio is PCM
  • MP3, WAV, M4A, MP4, 3GP for audio

Books on Google Play don't support non-standard audio or video tags, or interactive functionality such as that enabled by JavaScript code. The ability to embed audio is limited to ePub files and does not allow for the submission of standalone audiobooks.

Fixed layout ePub support

Books on Google Play support fixed layout in ePub 2.0.1 and ePub 3.0 files.

Fixed layout ePub files must be reviewed before they go live. After uploading a fixed layout ePub file, please add yourself as a quality reviewer and check that the book displays as intended in the Web Reader and, if possible, in the tablet version of the Google Play Books app. Approve the book by going to its Content files page and checking the box labeled I have done a quality review and things look fine. Unblock this book.

Implementation

  • Include the file META-INF/com.apple.ibooks.display-options.xml.
  • Specify layout in XHTML items by adding <meta name="viewport" content="width=xxx, height=yyy"></meta>

Only the following values in the META-INF/com.apple.ibooks.display-options.xml file will be parsed:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<display_options>
  <platform name="*">
    <option name="fixed-layout">true</option>
  </platform>
</display_options>

Additional attributes, such as the following, will be ignored:

  • platform name: if different than *
  • orientation-lock: setting portrait or landscape orientation is ignored
  • open-to-spread: always set to false