I have this niggling thought that I can't seem to shake off, so I'll air
it out here:
What is the difference between a fixed-layout ePub and a PDF? I mean,
what is the intrinsic difference? Isn't a PDF precisely a fixed-layout
ePub, only better?
A PDF has searchable text. It can be enlarged or reduced at will on the
screen. In a fixed-layout ePub, the line breaks are fixed, as are the
position of the graphics.
So why a fixed-layout ePub??
EPUB allows access to new distribution options and new tooling and integration options (ex: HTML animation/interactivity) also become possible because EPUB is based on web technologies.
IMHO, it is the rise of ebook stores which has driven EPUB - I can sell an EPUB in a store, not so much with a PDF.
Here is the first EPUB that the team knows about which was created with the new FXL export feature:
Obviously this could have been created as a PDF (which it was when they went to print it in on paper since the original files were InDesign) but by ALSO exporting to EPUB FXL it made it possible to reach this store.
In the end it is all about the specific reading-apps/device and what format you have to create in order to reach that app.
Architect, InDesign Engineering
Thanks for responding. Your answer kind of confirms what I was thinking -- that there doesn't seem to be an intrinsic difference between the 2 formats -- and the choice between them comes down to a financial/marketing issue rather than something that benefits the end-user.
Except of course that PDF is still far more mature than ePub FXL.