An interesting alliance has opened up between Stanza, Adobe, the Internet Archive and O’Reilly Media. Perhaps alliance is putting it too strongly, but these are the key players who are pushing a new initiative to develop a standard to enable the widespread discovery, description and access of book and other published material on the open web. The initiative is called the Open Publication Distribution System and Nick Bogaty, formerly of the IDPF now at Adobe, has this to say:
Adobe is currently working on how OPDS will be utilized within our own eBook products, but we encourage you to lend your support for this effort on the Google Code site and mailing lists, actively review the draft specifications and whether you are a content distributor (publisher selling direct, distributor, retailer, library, free public domain website etc.) or a reading system developer (desktop, device, mobile software etc.) utilize this specification into your workflows and products.
The OPDS wiki explains that:
the Open Publication Distribution System (OPDS) is an application of the Atom Syndication Format intended to enable content creators and distributors to distribute digital books via a simple catalog format. This format is designed to work interoperably across multiple desktop and device software programs for acquiring and consuming eBooks (“Reading Systems”). The focus of this document is to outline the requirements for preparing catalogs for use by compatible Reading Systems; formal compliance requirements for Reading Systems will be documented elsewhere. This application of Atom was initially defined and implemented by Lexcycle for the Stanza application.
I don’t know about you but I just love this idea. I have had excellent experience with Calibre on Stanza, able to catalogue my ePubs and use Calibre as a server and access my catalogue on Stanza. I would love this kind of ability on dedicated ereaders as well, not to mention access to all of my online sources of content out there on other sites like goodreads, librarything, etc. And if I can see those catalogues on a reader while I’m standing in a grocery line or waiting at the dentist, it is possible I might just buy something!
Familiarize yourself with the specification—click here.