For the last couple of days, we’ve been discussing ebooks but we haven’t discussed ebook formats yet. There are three major formats for ebooks: PDF, EPUB, and MOBI.
The PDF format is the most well known because it’s the oldest. PDF, which stands for portable document format, is a creation of Adobe. For this format, you generally write and format the document in Word, or some other word processing program, then “print” the document to a PDF file using special software. Primo PDF is one free option. The disadvantage of PDF is the format is not adaptive. If a reader has to increase font size, they will have to scroll left and right to read across the page.
The MOBI format is for Kindle ebook readers. It’s the version of the file without DRM (digital rights management) copy protection. I prefer no copy protection, so I always release Kindle books in MOBI format. To create a MOBI file, I usually start with an EPUB file (described below) and convert to MOBI.
The EPUB format is the more versatile format. It’s based upon XHTML coding, which is a somewhat more restricted language than that used for websites. I use Atlantis word processor for EPUB creation. It does a respectable job and is a relatively inexpensive solution.
Ideally, you would create all three and allow the user to select their favorite from the three ebook formats.