A wide variety of eBook file types currently exist, with many on the very brink of obsolescence. Only three formats are viable for potential sales: ePub, Kindle (mobi/azw), and PDF.

epub logo EPub is an open standard for eBooks. Created and maintained by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), it is the most interoperable and widely available format. Specific handheld devices that use ePub are Barnes & Noble's Nook, Apple's iPhone, iPad, and iPod using the iBooks application (although the Fairplay DRM does not allow any purchased books to be read on non-Apple hardware), the Sony Reader, Kobo eReader, BeBook, Bookeen Cybook, most Android-based smart phones, Freda on Windows Phone 7, and on any PC or Mac using Adobe Digital Editions. Additionally, Barnes & Noble has created a set of reading applications that will allow a customer to view ePubs purchased from Barnes & Noble on the most common smartphones and tablets, including PC and Mac computers. Applications for iOS and Android systems are now available from Google, allowing Google eBooks (ePubs) to be read on a wide variety of portable devices (as well as most web browsers) using a cloud-based content system. Purchases from Google are compatible with any reader that supports the Adobe eBook platform. EPub is a reflowable format, suitable for screens of all sizes.

mobi logoMobi (azw) is a file type specific to the Amazon Kindle and its software counterparts. While the format is sold exclusively by Amazon, and has no built-in compatibility with other hardware, it can be read on a wide variety of devices due to Amazon's release of free reading applications supporting Windows PC, Mac, iPhone, iPod, iPad, Blackberry, Android, and Windows Phone 7. Mobi (azw) is a reflowable format, suitable for screens of all sizes.

PDF logoPDF is a ubiquitous format, widely used for print-quality document renditions. The inherent high resolution, fixed format, and embedded fonts are clear benefits for publishers. For those who want eBooks available that match the printed copies, this is the format to choose. PDF files with ADEPT DRM applied will not open in regular viewers, such as Adobe Acrobat, but will work with Adobe Digital Editions and compatible handheld devices using portable variants. It should be noted that formatting for PDF files is identical to a true book layout, and thus the expense is considerably higher than the previously mentioned formats. PDF is not a reflowable format, limiting its practical use to desktops, laptops, tablets, or larger sized eReaders.

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