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E-Books

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Formats & Devices

PDF -- the Most Common E-Book Format

PDF is the most common e-book format in electronic scholarly publishing.  While PDF does not allow for the greater functionality offered by e-book readers and other mobile devices, most readers and devices can accomodate it. 

Calibre, an e-book management software, can help in converting PDF's (or other formats) to new formats when needed.

Other E-Book Formats

There are over twenty different types of e-book formats other than PDF. Some of the most widely used are listed below.

.AZW is Amazon's proprietary format for its Kindle devices, and only works on Kindles.

EPUB is an open standard e-book format that is supported by almost all e-readers and devices.

.PRC is the Mobipocket e-reader format which uses XHTML and Javascript.

.PDB is an e-book format for Palm OS devices that is frequently supported by other devices, as well.

E-Books are also published in familiar formats such as .txt, .doc, .docx, and .html. The chart to the right shows which formats work on which devices. And if you have an e-book in a format that doesn't work with your device, check the list of conversion software options below for a possible solution.

E-Book Solutions

Bridging the gap between the e-book reader you have and the e-book content you want to use often requires a software "middleman".  Here are some of the most common free software solutions:

Additional Resources

Choosing a device

e-book formats chart

Creative Commons License
E-book Formats for Popular E-readers and Apps by Amanda Tarbet is licensed
under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.