This article introduces traditional ebook file format, ebook readers, and discusses the latest ebook file format ePub, and its digital readers and creator (converter).
Ebook file formats
The myriad of e-book formats is sometimes referred to as the “Tower of eBabel”. For the average end user who wants to read a book, each format has its advantages and disadvantages. Here list a few most popular ebook format:
E-books in plain text exist and are very small in size, published as “.txt” file format.
HTML is the markup language used for most web pages. E-books using HTML can be read using a Web browser. Hypertext Format is published as “.htm”, or “.html”.
With the launch of the Kindle eBook reader, Amazon.com created the AZW format.
DjVu is a format that specializes in and particularly excels at storing scanned images, published as “.djvu”.
PDF (Portable Document File) file format created by Adobe Systems, initially to provide a standard form for storing and editing printed publishable documents. Since the format is designed to reproduce page images, the text traditionally could not be re-flowed to fit the screen width or size. As a result PDF files designed for printing on standard paper sizes are less easily viewed on screens with limited size or resolution, such as those found on mobile phones and PDAs, and, of course, iPad, although we haven’t seen it in any store yet!
ePub file format
Unless you were hiding under a rock today, you know that Apple announced a new tablet computer that also functions as an eBook reader. This eBooker reader support ePub file format, which is a proposed format from the International Digital Publishing Forum. “.epub” is the file extension of an XML format for digital books and publications. EPUB re-flows content, so that text can be optimized for the display screen being used at the time.
This is where ePub file format comes in. Because ePub offers interoperability between software and hardware for reflowable digital books. You could say, EPUB is the book equivalent of MP3 music.
By owning your eBooks in the EPUB format you will be able to read them using a wide range of software and digital electronic book readers, as mentioned above. The EPUB format is now the preferred industry standard world-wide and with more and more publishers, book stores and developers supporting this eBook format.
There are other ePub digital readers, such as Sony Reader(Pocket Edition, Touch Edition), Borders Elonex Reader, BeBook eBook Reader, Apple iPod Touch.
There are softwares for you to read ePub ebook on your computer, such as Adobe Digital Editions, Stanza eBook Reader, Bookworm Reader, FBReader, Mobipocket, BookGlutton, etc.
You can easily create your own ePub book with eScape. eScape is a free Open Office Writer to ePub creator. It lets you instantly and effortlessly turn Open Office Writer documents (ODT) into perfect ePubs ready to share with your friends. With eScape you may avoid the print book hegemony and go e-book first.
It’s easy to create an ePub with eScape by following a few simple styling rules and with eScape you can create fantastic ePubs instantly.
Use the supplied Open Office Template (OTT) to Structure and Style your text files in the familiar Open Office Writer environment.
- Open eScape, browse to your ODT, cover image and select a CSS.
- Set a few reader friendly options and click “Create ePub”
- You can modify and add stylesheets to give your books a distinctive and personal style,
eScape is free E-book enthusiasts, that means for non-commerical use only if it is downloaded from there website. eScape cannot be used to create ePubs for money. You are explicitly forbidden to use eScape to provide ePub creation services. The ePubs you create can be freely shared, distributed and and given away anywhere and to anyone as long as you do not charge for them. This includes any and all service and/or distribution fees. There is no mention of what the pricing is for commercial use.
In 2008 BookGlutton launched a server-side HTML-to-EPUB converter.
Adobe Digital Edition uses .epub format for its e-books.
DSLibris, a Sourceforge.net project, is able to decode e-books in .epub and .xht format for reading on the Nintendo DS/DS Lite/DSi systems. The e-book is presented in a natural page format (the DS console is held sideways with both screens simulating left and right pages of a book), and page turns are accomplished by either left or right buttons pressed on the directional pad or stylus taps on the left or right side of the touchscreen. Bookmarks can be created using the Select key, and the user can return to them using the up or down directional pad buttons when the e-book is reopened.