About ePub files and iBooks

Learn about the types of ePubs that iBooks accepts.

ePub is a standard format for open ebooks maintained by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). An ePub is a group of files zipped together into a single package, which ends in the extension .epub.

iBooks accepts both ePub 3 and ePub 2.

About ePub 3

When you unzip an ePub 3, you see one file and two folders:

  • File: Mimetype
  • Folders: META-INF and OEBPS

The META-INF folder, which contains the book's metadata information, can contain one or multiple files, but it must contain a container.xml file. This file tells iBooks how to process the rest of the ePub package.

The OEBPS folder* contains the book's content, metadata, style, and table of contents.

In the OEBPS folder, you must include these files:

  • XHTML files for your content, which can include include text, images, and media. The table of contents, a navigation file, is often named toc.xhtml.
  • A file named content.opf, which describes the metadata, the manifest (what files are in the OEBPS folder), and the display order of those files.

You can also include a cascading style sheet (CSS) in the OEBPS folder to describe the styling and layout of the book.

*The name of this folder might vary.

About ePub 2

Like ePub 3, ePub 2 also has the mimetype file and the META-INF and OEBPS folders. Structurally, the two formats are very similar, but ePub 2 contains a .ncx file instead of the navigation file.

Learn more

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