Curtis Johnstone Curtis Johnstone's Personal Blog

May 12, 2011

Popular Digital e-Readers and Formats

Here is a quick overview of some popular digital formats for publishing content such as eBooks, and digital readers that can be used with them.

Popular Digital Formats

EPUB (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EPUB)
PDF (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PDF)
Plan Text
HTML

With all of these formats there is DRM and non-DRM.  DRM standard for Digital Rights Management, and it has access controls built into for controlling access to only those who paid for the content. Non-DRM content is just a piece of data (e.g. a file) that can be distributed and accessed by anyone.

There are also proprietary formats used in online books stores such as:

  • Amazon Kindle: AZW
  • Sony Reader BBeB format

Popular Digital Readers

Different readers support different formats. Wikipedia has a good article to compare the differences: “Comparison of e-book readers” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-book_reader).

You can also use non-reader specific devices to read e-books such as the iPad, iPhone, or a PC.  Users just need software on these devices that support the various digital eBook formats.

For example, Apple publishes a free application called iBooks (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ibooks/id364709193?mt=8#) that can be used on the iPhone or iPad to read books in PDF or EPub format.

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