It is a nail biting decision for an author or publisher when it comes to selecting an ebook format for publication. There are several ways end users read documents and images on their favourite device. With a large number of ebook formats and to target users with specific compatible device formats, anyone can be easily confused because users just want to read books.
From range of available formats, the essential one is the one which works on all devices or the format which is sold the most by ebook retailers. As the ebook market has grown, formats with strong development and support have gained popularity, while the ones which have struggled have gone into the abyss. Widely used ebook formats are;
|eBook Format||.extension||Supports DRM||Images||Tables||Sound||Word wrapping||Footnotes/Endnotes||Bookmarking||Video Support|
EPub is an open format defined by IDPF (International digital publishing forum) which combines three IDPF standards; XHTML (content mark-up), XML (structure) and ZIP (bundles files and their components together). The new version of this format is ePub 3.
Devices that support this format are Apple iOS devices like iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Amazon Kindle, Android Devices, Sony Reader, Barnes and Noble Nook and Mac OSX and Windows OS using Adobe Digital Editions. Adobe, Apple and Barnes and Noble have their DRM systems for this format.
KindleGen is a program developed by Amazon, which can be used to convert .epub format to .mobi
AZW is the format used by Amazon on their kindle devices. It is similar to the .mobi format but turns out to be less in file size as it uses higher compression option. With the release of kindle apps, this ebook packed in .azw format can also be used on computers, tablets, apple iOS devices, android phones and blackberry.
With the introduction of 'Kindle Format 8', a new format .KF8 is been introduced which is backward compatible to the .mobi format. KF8 is a combination for HTML6 and CSS3
LIT format includes DRM (Digital Rights Management) protected ebook developed for devices which support Microsoft software's reader program and the ebook format can be found on windows mobile devices and pcs.
This format is not in much use anymore as Microsoft discontinued the reader from August 2012.
Adobe created the PDF (Portable Document Format) format for their Acrobat products. This is a very popular format as almost any reading device or computer supports this format. The only disadvantage of this format is, because of scaling and default page layout, it becomes unreadable once the document is opened in smart phones or smaller devices
PDB also termed as Palm Database File has the capability to source different ebook formats use for palm devices and eReader formats. In this ebook format there isn't any file system and all memory / data is stored in a database format.
Sony BBeB, BroadBand eBook developed by Sony is not an open format and cannot be used on any other devices except Sony Librie and Sony Reader. They come in format LRS, LRF and LRX.
.LRS is the base format for Sony BBeB which follows Xylog XML format.
.LRF is created after compiling and compressing .LRS to make it accessible for the Sony Portable Reader.
.LRX format emerges if the file is DRM protected for Sony Librie, which will not be compatible to be used on the Sony Portable reader. Such .lrx format files can be purchased on the Sony Connect store.