An Blank Allows Data To Flow From Your Program Take EBooks at Your Leisure: EBook Formats

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Take EBooks at Your Leisure: EBook Formats

This is the first in a series of articles about eBooks. Others in the series include:

* Ebook encryption (DRM)

* Ebook reading devices

* eBooks and eReaders: Desired characteristics

* Ebook publishing

* Ebook Marketing

* Ebook Stores: Desired Features

eBook format

The most powerful ebook formats are those that are most flexible, portable and mobile.

For example, mainstream ebook reader platforms allow one to read ebooks on dedicated ebook readers (Kindle, Nook, and ). Kobo), on smart phones and other general purpose mobile devices (Apple, Android, Blackberry, etc.), and on desktop/laptop computers (PC, Macintosh). They allow customization of the reading experience according to personal preferences and specific ebook reader characteristics (size, contrast, etc.). They also sync attributes like bookmarks, notes, and highlights across all user reader devices.

For these platforms to shine, eBook formats must be universally adaptable.

In this context, the term “format” refers to the rules, conventions, and syntax that govern how documents are stored and displayed.

Document formats are generally associated with software applications capable of creating documents that conform to the rules of that format.

Other software applications interpret and display documents according to format rules. These “reader” software applications are generally compatible with all formats.

For example, a document formatted in Amazon’s proprietary format MOBI The format cannot be read by Apple’s iBook reader.

Hardware and software options for e-books have exploded over the years. We won’t talk about all of them here because there are 40 in total… instead, we’ll focus on the most popular ones.

Popular eBook format


To date, the best candidate for a universal ebook standard is the EPUB (Electronic Publication) format. EPUB is a free and open ebook standard designed by the International Digital Publishing Forum that provides support for Reflowable/Resizable Text, embedded images, bookmarks, notes, tables, audio and DRM (Digital Rights Management). Internally, the EPUB format uses XHTML (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language).

Electronic books created in EPUB format can be read on several popular readers under Windows PC and Macintosh:

* Adobe Digital Editions

* Lexacycle verses

* Azardi

* FBReader

* Mozilla Firefox add-on EPUBReader

* UBook

In addition, the EPUB format can be read on many mobile devices, including:

* Apples iPad, iPhone And iPod

* Blackberry

* HTC / Android

* Samsung Tablets

* Barnes and Noble Nook

* Sony Reader

* Kobo eReader

* Bookin Cybook

* Alluretech Libre

* The Iliad

* Nokia

* Hanlin

* Cool-ER

Unfortunately, Amazon Kindle does not support the EPUB format. However there is software available (eg Calibre) that can convert non-DRM EPUB files to unprotected ones MobiPocket A format that the Kindle can read. Additionally, Amazon offers a free program called KindleGen which converts to EPUB and many other formats.


MOBI (Often referred to as AZW format) is Amazon’s proprietary Kindle eBook format.

The MOBI Form is based on this MobiPocket Standard (Amazon bought a French eReader company MobiPocket in 2005) with the inclusion of Amazon’s Digital Rights Management (DRM) components. The MOBI Format supports text ReflowBookmarks, notes, tables, embedded images and DRM.

The Kindle file format has gone through generations. Along with the release of the Kindle Fire Reader in late 2011, also released Kindle Format 8, their next-generation file format. The .kf8 File format supported HTML5 And CSS3.

In addition to the Kindle Reader, the Kindle format is now available on various platforms, such as through the Kindle app:

* Apples iPad, iPhone

* Blackberry

* HTC / Android

* Windows Phone 7

And of course, it’s also available on Windows PC and Macintosh.


PDF (Portable Document Format) is a “page oriented” format. Developed by Adobe in 1992, its original purpose was to ensure that an electronic document shared with another person would be printed for the recipient as the document creator intended, regardless of whether a computer and printer were used. Its primary purpose, therefore, is to faithfully reproduce the printed page, and it accomplishes this exceptionally well, as it works on virtually all computer platforms.

The PDF format has evolved over its 20 years of existence. Modern PDF documents can be protected from unauthorized access, modification, printing, etc. They may include navigation features and links to external content, may contain multimedia elements and may be used to collect information (forms). Adobe released the PDF format to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as an open standard in 2007-2008 (ISO 32000). This allowed other software vendors to enable their applications to create and read documents in PDF format, although Adobe Reader and Acrobat Pro were the most robust and Widely distributed PDF tools. PDF documents can be viewed in a web browser, and users can create PDFs by “printing” virtually any web content on a PDF “printer”.

Because the format is designed to reproduce page images, text cannot traditionally be reflowed to fit the screen width or size of the new breed of smart phones and “palm-sized” devices. As a result, PDF files designed for printing on standard paper sizes are less easily viewable on screens of limited size or resolution, such as those found on mobile phones and e-book readers. Adobe has attempted to address this shortcoming by adding a re-flow facility to its Acrobat Reader software, but for it to work the document must be marked for re-flow when creating it, meaning that existing PDF documents will not benefit unless they are tagged. And Save again.

The most notable features of the PDF format are its portability (the “P” in PDF) and device independence. PDF files are supported on Windows, Macintosh, and Unix computers, as well as portable operating systems and a full range of e-book readers, including:

* Apples iPad, iPhone And iPod

* Blackberry

* HTC / Android

* Amazon Kindle

* Samsung Tablets

* Barnes and Noble Nook

* Sony Reader

* Kobo eReader

* Bookin Cybook

* Alluretech Libre

* iRex iLiad And DR1000

* Nokia

* Hanlin

* Cool-ER

* Foxit eSlick

* Pocketbook reader

The PDF format supports bookmarks, notes, tables, embedded images and more DRM.


The PDB (eReader) format is a specification for storing information in databases for Palm OS and other operating systems. When used to represent an e-book, the data stored in this database are the commands that control the content of the book and how it is displayed by its reader.

The program supports features such as bookmarks and footnotes, enabling the user to mark any page with bookmarks and comment any part of the text as a footnote. Footnotes can then be exported as memo documents. text ReflowTables, embedded images and DRM are also supported.

In addition to Windows PC and MAC, the following eReader supports:

* Apples iPad, iPhone And iPod

* Blackberry

* HTC / Android

* Samsung

* PalmOS (No webOS)

* Sony Ericsson

* Symbian

* PocketPC (2002 or earlier)

* Windows Mobile smartphones and Pocket PC 2003 or later

* Nokia

* Linux (Ubuntu 9.0.4 or later)


It’s also worth noting that the Stanza application for iPhone and iPod Touch can read both encrypted and unencrypted eReader files. This may be your best bet as rumors have it iTunes eReader My app is not available for a long time.


HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is the standard format used to represent web pages. You may struggle with the idea that HTML is an e-book format because it is actually the basic format or software language that makes up a large part of the nearly 400 million websites on the Internet today. But since the HTML format supports text reflow, tables and contextual images, it can truly be listed as one of the elite. What’s more, many other eBook formats are based on HTML… becoming fundamental in the evolution of the eBook industry to date.

HTML documents are simple text files with embedded commands (markup) that specify how a web page will look. These markup commands allow HTML documents to be linked to other HTML files and multimedia files.

HTML files can be read by web browsers such as:

* Internet Explorer

* Firefox

* Safari

* Chrome

* Opera

Many e-book retailers still offer e-books in HTML format (online and offline).

Other forms worth mentioning

Microsoft Reader

Navigation works via keyboard, mouse, stylus or electronic bookmarks. The user can add annotations and notes, create large-print e-books with a single command, or create free-form drawings on reader pages. A built-in dictionary also exists.

Microsoft announced that Microsoft Reader will be discontinued on August 30, 2012.


The MobiPocket The eBook format is based on the Open eBook standard using XHTML and may include JavaScript and frames. Readers can add blank pages and free-hand drawings to any part of the book. Annotations (highlights, bookmarks, corrections, notes and drawings) can be applied, managed and recalled from a single location. It runs on most platforms and operating systems.

Amazon, owner of mobipockethas discontinued support… although it is still available.

fiction book

FictionBook is a popular XML-based ebook format supported by free readers such as FBReader, Bebook, Recently Readers and STDU viewer

Multimedia eBook

Multimedia eBooks include a combination of text, audio, images, video, and/or interactive content formats.


Plucker is an open source free mobile and desktop e-book reader application.

plain text

Speaks for itself.


As the ebook market has grown and adapted to changes in technology, we have seen a variety of ebook formats being created. Some of these forms have now disappeared, some have been strengthened by development and support, and some have survived despite all efforts to get rid of them.

When you crunch the data, the ebook formats listed in this article may only represent a small number of the ebook formats available out there, but they are the cream of the crop. The various formats I mention are because they are not really used anymore or maybe only in very small niches.

I think it’s safe to assume that the ebook formats listed above will become a staple of ebook reading for the foreseeable future.

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