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

Plan Text

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” (

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 ( that can be used on the iPhone or iPad to read books in PDF or EPub format.

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