This article drifts away from technical writing publishing, and more towards digital publishing in general – specifically focusing on transforming PDF documents into the EPUB format. OverDrive, a company that I’ve mainly encountered in the context of e-book delivery for Monroe County Public Library’s digital book collection, is working to make their collection of PDF files available in the EPUB format, which has many benefits for people interested in viewing documents on a wide variety of devices. EPUBs can easily adapt to a viewer’s device, rearranging text and scaling graphics appropriately – while PDFs, on the other hand, act as a screenshot of a page, leaving the viewer with zooming in and out as their only option for consuming information on devices that might not have an optimal viewing experience for PDF files.
I can see where some difficulties might pop up in the PDF to EPUB conversion process – especially in documents where text and images are precisely laid out, like in a children’s book. However, the goal that OverDrive has – “[giving] every library and school access to every title, under every available model”, as Steve Potash said in a recent interview, is a worthy one, and any breakthroughs that OverDrive has in the PDF to EPUB conversion process could be beneficial to anyone working to convert PDF documents into other formats to make consumption easier.