Take EBooks at Your Leisure: EBook Formats

This is the first of a chain of articles all about ebooks. Other inside the series include:

* eBook Encryption (DRM)

* eBook Reading Devices

* eBooks and eReaders: Desired Features

* eBook Publishing

* eBook Marketing

* eBook Stores: Desired Features

romance books

The maximum effective eBook codecs are the ones which are the maximum bendy, portable and mobile.

For instance, the mainstream eBook reader platforms allow one to examine eBooks on dedicated eBook readers (Kindle, Nook, and Kobo), on smart phones and different popular cause mobile devices (Apple, Android, Blackberry, etc.), and on laptop/pc computer systems (PC, Macintosh). They allow customization of the analyzing revel in to non-public possibilities and to the traits (size, evaluation, and so on.) of the specific eBook reader. They additionally synchronize attributes including bookmarks, notes, and highlights throughout all person reader devices.

In order to offer those structures the potential to shine, the eBook codecs need to be universally adaptable.

In this context, the term “layout” refers to the policies, conventions, and syntax that govern how files are stored and displayed.

Document codecs are generally related to software programs able to developing files that obey the rules of that layout.

Other software program programs interpret and show the documents in keeping with the regulations of the layout. These “reader” software program applications are typically incompatible across codecs.

For instance, a record formatted in Amazon’s proprietary MOBI layout cannot be study by means of Apple’s iBook reader.

The beyond numerous years have witnessed an explosion of hardware and software program alternatives for eBooks. We aren’t going to speak approximately they all right here because there are approximately 40 in total… Instead, we can concentrate on the maximum popular.

Popular eBook Formats


To date, the first-class candidate for a widespread eBook general is the EPUB (Electronic Publication) format. EPUB is a loose and open eBook trendy designed by way of the International Digital Publishing Forum that offers help for reflowable/resizable textual content, embedded snap shots, bookmarks, notes, tables, audio and DRM (Digital Rights Management). Internally, the EPUB layout makes use of XHTML (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language).

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

* Adobe Digital Editions

* Lexcycle Stanza


* FBReader

* Mozilla Firefox add-on EPUBReader

* UBook

In addition, the EPUB layout may be study on many cellular gadgets, which includes:

* Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod

* BlackBerry

* HTC / Android

* Samsung Tablet

* Barnes & Noble Nook

* Sony Reader

* Kobo eReader

* Bookeen Cybook

* Aluratek Libre

* Iliad

* Nokia

* Hanlin


Unfortunately, the Amazon Kindle does not assist the EPUB layout. However there’s software available (e.G. Calibre) which could convert a non-DRM EPUB report into the unprotected Mobipocket layout that the Kindle can study. Additionally, Amazon gives a loose application known as KindleGen which converts EPUB and several different formats.


MOBI (often known as AZW format also) is Amazon’s proprietary Kindle eBook format.

The MOBI layout is primarily based on the Mobipocket preferred (Amazon bought the French eReader organisation Mobipocket in 2005) with the inclusion of Amazon’s virtual rights control (DRM) additives. The MOBI layout helps textual content reflow, bookmarks, notes, tables, embedded photographs, and DRM.

The kindle record layout has gone via several generations. With the release of the Kindle Fire reader in late 2011, Amazon.Com additionally released Kindle Format 8, their next-technology file format. The .Kf8 document layout helps HTML5 and CSS3.

Other than the Kindle reader itself, the Kindle layout is now to be had on a diffusion of structures, consisting of via the Kindle app for:

* Apple iPad, iPhone

* BlackBerry

* HTC / Android

* Windows Phone 7

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


PDF (Portable Document Format) is a “web page oriented” layout. Developed in 1992 by using Adobe, its unique intent was to make sure that an digital file shared with another character will print for the recipient exactly because the document writer intended, irrespective of the pc and printer getting used. Its primary motive, consequently, is to faithfully reproduce the published page, and it accomplishes this quite properly, because it works on truly all computer structures.

The PDF format has developed over its 20-yr lifestyles. Modern PDF documents may be blanketed from unauthorized access, change, printing, and many others. They can encompass navigation features and hyperlinks to external content, can incorporate multimedia components, and may be used to accumulate facts (forms). Adobe launched the PDF layout to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as an open preferred in 2007-2008 (ISO 32000). This allowed other software program companies to permit their programs to create and study files in PDF layout, even though Adobe Reader and Acrobat Pro continue to be the most strong and broadly-dispensed PDF equipment. PDF files may be considered within Web browsers and customers can create a PDF through “printing” simply any Web content to a PDF “printer”.

Since the layout is designed to breed web page pics, the text traditionally couldn’t be re-flowed to match the display screen width or length of the brand new breed of smart phones and “palm-sized” devices. As a result, PDF documents designed for printing on widespread paper sizes are much less easily considered on screens with limited size or decision, together with the ones observed on mobile telephones and e-book readers. Adobe has tried to addressed this downside with the aid of including a re-drift facility to its Acrobat Reader software program, however for it to paintings the record ought to be marked for re-flowing at introduction, meaning that present PDF files might not benefit unless they are tagged and re-stored.

The maximum noteworthy functions of the PDF format are its portability (the “P” in PDF) and device independence. PDF documents are supported on Windows, Macintosh, and Unix computers as well as the total range of transportable operating systems and e-book readers which include:

* Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod

* BlackBerry

* HTC / Android

* Amazon Kindle

* Samsung Tablet

* Barnes & Noble Nook

* Sony Reader

* Kobo eReader

* Bookeen Cybook

* Aluratek Libre

* iRex iLiad and DR1000

* Nokia

* Hanlin


* Foxit eSlick

* PocketBook Reader

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


The PDB (eReader) layout is a specification to maintain statistics in a database for Palm OS and different operating structures. When used to represent an eBook, the records stored in this database is the text of the ebook and the instructions that manipulate the manner it’s far displayed by its reader.

The program helps functions like bookmarks and footnotes, allowing the user to mark any web page with a bookmark, and any part of the textual content with a footnote-like observation. Footnotes can later be exported as a Memo report. Text reflow, tables, embedded pix and DRM also are supported.

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

* Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod

* BlackBerry

* HTC / Android

* Samsung

* PalmOS (not webOS)

* Sony Ericsson

* Symbian

* PocketPC (2002 or Earlier)

* Windows Mobile Smartphone and PocketPC 2003 or Later

* Nokia

* Linux (Ubuntu 9.0.4 or later)


It’s additionally well worth noting that the Stanza software for the iPhone and iPod Touch can examine both encrypted and unencrypted eReader documents. This may be your pleasant wager as there are rumors that the itunes eReader app my now not be to be had for lots longer.


HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is the usual format used to symbolize Web pages. You may additionally warfare with the concept that HTML is an eBook layout at all because it’s miles in reality the core format or software language that makes up a huge portion of the almost 400 million websites on the net these days. But as the HTML format supports text reflow, tables, and referenced pictures, it can indeed be listed as one of the elite. What’s extra, the various other eBook formats are based loosely on HTML… Making it fundamental in the evolution of the eBook industry up to now.

HTML files are plain text documents with embedded instructions (markups) that specify the manner the Web web page will look. These markup commands also allow a HTML report to link to different HTML files and multimedia files.

HTML files may be examine via Web browsers together with:

* Internet Explorer

* Firefox

* Safari

* Chrome

* Opera

A range of eBook stores still make ebooks available (on line and offline) within the HTML layout.

Other codecs worth mentioning

Microsoft Reader

Navigation works with a keyboard, mouse, stylus, or thru digital bookmarks. A consumer can upload annotations and notes, create big-print e-books with a unmarried command, or create unfastened-shape drawings at the reader pages. A integrated dictionary also exists.

Microsoft introduced Microsoft Reader might be discontinued on August 30th 2012.


The Mobipocket ebook format is based totally at the Open eBook wellknown the usage of XHTML and might include JavaScript and frames. Readers can add blank pages in any a part of a book and upload free-hand drawings. Annotations (highlights, bookmarks, corrections, notes, and drawings) can be carried out, organized, and recalled from a single area. It runs on most structures and running systems.

Amazon, the owner of mobipocket, has discontinued assist… Even though it’s nonetheless to be had for now.


FictionBook is a famous XML-primarily based eBook layout supported via free readers such as FBReader, Bebook, Haali Reader and STDU Viewer.

Multimedia EBook

Multimedia ebooks include a mixture of textual content, audio, pics, video, and/or interactive content material formats.


Plucker is an Open Source unfastened mobile and laptop ebook reader utility.

Plain text

Speaks for itself.


As the eBook marketplace has grown and tailored to the changes in technology, we’ve got seen a variety of eBook codecs crop up. Some of these codecs have now disappeared, some have grown sturdy with improvement and guide, and some have held on in spite of all efforts to do away with them.

When you crunch through the records, the eBook codecs listed in this article can also best show a small variety of the eBook codecs available out there, but they are the cream of the crop. There are a ramification of formats I actually have now not noted due to the fact they are simply no longer surely used anymore or perhaps handiest in very small niches.

I assume it’s far safe to count on that the above indexed eBook formats will form the center of eBook reading for the foreseeable destiny.