This is the "e-Book Formats" page of the "e-Readers Made Easy" guide.
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e-Readers Made Easy  

This brief introduction to e-readers and e-books provides basic instruction on the most common hardware devices and e-book formats, and how to borrow and load library e-books onto your device. It assumes no prior knowledge of the technology.
Last Updated: Dec 4, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Additional Features of Electronic Books

Increasingly, e-books come with a variety of features to enhance the reading experience, including:

  • Large Text
  • Text to Speech
  • Annotations
  • Built-in Dictionary (including translation to other languages)
  • Portability

Not all the above features are available for every e-reader and e-book.


Overview of the Most Common e-Book Formats

In addition to the many devices available for reading e-books, e-books themselves come in many formats, and not all formats are compatible with all devices.  Some of the more common formats you are likely to encounter are the following:

  • ePub -- a free and open standard for e-books in XML
  • Kindle (AZW, KF8) -- a proprietary standard or series of standards for Amazon's Kindle line of e-readers
  • iBooks -- a version of ePub for Apple's iBook Author software, technically not compatible with the ePub standard
  • Mobi/Mobipocket -- originally developed for mobile devices, the Mobi standard became the basis for Kindle's e-book format
  • PDF -- Portable Document Format, a document delivery standard very common in business and academic settings, PDF files are accessible on most e-reader devices, but can be cumbersome to read on smaller screens
  • TXT (Plain Text) -- widely accessible, but lacking many of the advanced features of e-books
  • HTML -- Hyper Text Markup Language, the standard for sharing text documents on the World Wide Web, can also be read on most e-readers


Non-Book Content for Your Device

Many tablets and e-readers can also be used to access other content besides e-books, including

  • Audio
  • Video
  • Periodicals
  • Websites
  • Email

Not all devices, however, are equally capable of handling all media types, so when considering which device to purchase, be sure to take into account the various purposes for which you might wish to use it. 

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Joshua Allan Westgard

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Erin Antognoli

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Kerry Huller

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Charles Murray Sutherland

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