Understanding eBook File Formats
Reading an eBook is fairly intuitive. What’s not intuitive is dealing with all the various eBook file formats currently available.
The most common file format for eBooks is the EPUB format, which does a good job of formatting text for the screen and allows for the display of larger type sizes (good for those of us with aging eyesight). But there’s also the MOBI format, which Amazon uses for its Kindle eBooks, as well as Adobe’s PDF format, which is surprisingly popular among people reading eBooks on their computers.
While both of these formats do pretty much the same thingreproduce the printed page onscreenthe confusion comes from incompatibility. The MOBI format works only with the Kindle, but the Kindle can’t read eBooks in the EPUB format. When you pick an eBook reader, you’re pretty much stuck with reading eBooks available in that particular format.
Where do you get these electronic books? The Amazon Kindle Store is the market leader, with 750,000 MOBI-format titles available for purchaseplus more than 1.8 million public domain titles available for free. Both Barnes & Noble and Borders offer more than 2 million books for download in the EPUB format; Apple’s iBookstore also offers EPUB-format eBooks, but not quite as many. And there are lots of other sites offering EPUB-format books for free or paid download.