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portable document format
hypertext markup language
video capabilities
ereader
heaps
storage space
The Pros And Cons Of Ebook Formats
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The Pros And Cons Of Ebook Formats

There are heaps of different Ebook formats. Basically this is how the Ebook is presented, how you view it. This includes the type of text, images and their quality, interactive content and video capabilities. Each format may have a different mix of these features, or specialize in just one or two. Different Ereaders are compatible with different formats; this greatly affects the popularity of the Ereader. It’s worth a look at what format you would choose, if you are interested writing and publishing an Ebook.

The most common formats, the ones that are used by the majority of Ereaders, are Plain Text (.txt), Portable Document Format (.pdf), EPUB (.epub) and Hypertext Markup Language (.html). There are many more formats that can be used, but these are the way to go if you are looking for easier access, so these are the ones we’ll go into detail about.

The most common Ebook format that you will find compatible with every Ereader is Plain Text. At the size ratio of one byte for each character, this is a purely text based format, perfect for lots of printed information. This is the format that is also used in a computers configuration files or for use in typed emails. While this is the most compatible format to use, it does limit your options in terms of presentation, so you may want to choose a more media friendly format.

The next format you would look at for, and not only for an Ebook is the Hypertext Markup Language, generally referred to as HTML. This is used as the format for the majority of web pages due to the ease with which it can be manipulated using Plain Text in an HTML generator, to present a wide range of fonts and colours. This can be a complicated process though, and HTML takes up more storage space than some other more Ebook friendly formats. If you are looking for an entirely user-created Ebook, or a web friendly text choice, this is the format of choice, but if you want something easier to handle or more compatible for an Ereader, you might want to give this one a miss.

So if you are looking for more embellishment than Plain Text, but something more compatible than HTML, and easier to use, the Portable Document Format, is probably the one for you. This format was created by Adobe, and is the preferred format for document use on the web, compatible with most computer systems and all but a select few Ereaders. Each document holds its own fixed layout with all the fonts and graphics necessary to view the text. This format is good to use for either individual pages or whole books, and thanks to its self sufficiency can be viewed on any platform that is Adobe compatible.

Growing in popularity in the Ebook world is the EPUB format, short for Electronic Publication, and is a free and open format to use, opening the doors to a huge increase of user-created content. Due to its re-flow ability, where its text can ‘wrap’ to complement the device being used, this format may not be effective in an Ebook that requires a set layout, with lots of graphics. However, this is a proven format when it comes to creating an Ebook, and with its growing use, more companies are producing Ereaders that are compatible with it.

These are only a few of the many Ebook compatible formats available, but are at the time of writing, the easiest to use and the easiest to publish to a greater selection of Ereaders, and therefore a greater range of readers. I hope I have managed to help you understand more on the, sometimes complicated, world of Ebook formats, and that you now have a clearer understanding on one of the first steps to producing an Ebook. Happy Reading!


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