May 23, 2022

A Working Group to Develop a Next-Gen Reading Engine For BD, Comics, Manga Gets Going

Note: Public libraries are invited to participate.

From the European Digital Reading Lab (EDRLab):

An artistic experience results from a tension between the expressivity of a publishing format and the capabilities of authoring and reading systems.

We are facing a chicken and egg problem: for next-gen BD / comics / manga to exist in the publishing industry, it is necessary for reading systems to support such content. But for a reading engine to be developed, content is needed and to develop such content without high development costs for publishers, authoring tools are needed. In France and Belgium, authors have experimented for a long time (turbomedia was born in France) without being able to live from their digital activity.

Meanwhile, the US digital comics market is dominated by a proprietary format and webtoons, one of the main markets for digital natives, is completely out of the EPUB ecosystem.

The only solution is a progressive and simultaneous move of all players in the chain!

The contributions of the WG will therefore cover several fields:

  • Offer to authors/artists/publishers the largest artistic control of user experience, when creating digital visual narratives
  • Prototype ideas and test the market using the Readium-2 open-source reading engine.
  • Propose new functionalities for Web Publications and EPUB 4, currently under study by the W3C Publishing WG.
  • Create documents / videos for a non technical audience (authors/publishers), a marketing effort needed to foster implementations and market success.


Members of EDRLab are invited to join the Working Group and work on proposals for the W3C and Readium. Non-members may be invited to help on gathering requirements and use-cases, or authoring prototype content.

Due to the work on metadata, distributors, bibliographic databases, booksellers and public libraries are also invited to participate. The issue of on-going stories will not be solved without them.

Much More in the Complete Overview Post

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.