2008 the year of the Ebook – A guide to Ebook Formats – Part 2

by Ebook Doctor on September 16, 2008

… Continuing from Part 1

Mobipocket Format (MOBI)

Mobipockets MOBI file format was never developed with and specific device in mind, unlike the aforementioned file formats. It was designed instead for a piece of software. This software, the Mobipocket reader software, is free to distribute and download, which makes this format very appealing. Instead of download fees, Mobipockets money has been wholly earned from eBook sales. Indeed, this type of philosophy will have a much longer future than those of Amazon and Sony who exclude potential customers with the use of their proprietary formats.

Adobe Reader Format (PDF)

Ever since its inception, PDF has maintained its focus and drive in order to become one of the top digital text formats around. Not too many manufacturers release devices these days that do not support the PDF file format. There are, however, a few issues which need clarification. First of all, the PDF format scheme is that of displaying text on a screen to look precisely as it does in print. Complications arise however when it try’s to display text designed for A4 printing, seeing as how no eBook reader devices exist at this time that have an A4 sized screen.

Final Thoughts

Whilst considering buying an e-book reader, thorough research is paramount. Once you have ascertained which e-book scheme you would use most frequently, peruse e-book stores in order to discover whether or not they carry the kinds of e-books you might want to buy. You may also want to purchase larger screen devices, like an Irex Iliad, if you read PDF files which are larger in size. As stated before, avoid potential headaches in the future by undertaking an in depth research scheme to begin with.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 John Hagewood 01.20.09 at 2:15 am

This article is quite incomplete and has a few glaring errors:

1) No discussion of DRM formats for commercial (recent) ebooks should eliminate the “eReader” format (aka “pdb”, see eReader.com), which is now owned by Fictionwise.com (for the last year). Originally invented for “Palm”, this format is VERY well accepted, perhaps 2nd only to DRM’ed Mobipocket. It uses “social DRM” where the only thing needed to read the book is the purchaser name and CC # (the book is actually encrypted by using this information). eReader software is available for Mac, PC, Windows Mobile PDA’s and Smartphones, iPhone (including a recent licensing agreement with Stanza) and other platforms. Sadly, there isn’t currently an e-Ink reader that supports this format, but with the Mobi DRM format currently NOT being supported on the iPhone, the eReader is REALLY taking off on the iPhone. Fictionwise is currently investigating e-Ink devices for future support (I think they were talking to BeBook, but Mobi got the deal).

2) You suggest that the Kindle supports Mobi, but in reality it only supports NON-DRM Mobi, which is a HUGE limitation, since the vast majority of commercial / mainstream books are ONLY released in DRM’ed formats. Also, you didn’t mention that Amazon actually OWNS MobiPocket, and that the Kindle DRM format is simply a slightly modified version of Mobi-DRM. Is it any wonder that Amazon is reportedly “withholding” an already working Mobi-DRM enabled iPhone App so that iPhones won’t take an even bigger bite out the Kindle uptake? (ok, this last bit is merely unsubstantiated rumor)

3. You also fail to mention the Microsoft Reader format (LIT). It is also VERY widely accepted, both in the DRM world and otherwise. Almost every eBook out there available only in DRM is usually available in Mobi, eReader, and Microsoft LIT, yet your “guide to formats” only mentions ONE of the “big three”. Microsoft Reader software is available for Windows desktops, tablet PC’s and Windows Mobile PDA’s and Smartphones.

I hope this helps your readers some. DRM is a mess right now…hard to sort through. There are of course other formats out there…though not as accepted. There is a pretty good quick guide to format at:

2 catherine jones finer 07.24.09 at 3:09 pm

Is there (or might there soon be ) an ebook reader which operates by remote control ? I’m enquiring on behalf of a friend with MS who cannot use her hands/fingers, only her chin.
She would have a helper to set up the book + size of print + relevant page etc on the machine – but would need after that to be able to scroll down/up the pages for herself. ie She would need some form of mouse button. Is there anything like this yet available ?
I hope very much to hear from you.

3 Martin Woodhouse 09.27.09 at 10:05 am

Sorry, but until ebook readers are

(a) in colour
(b) cost less than £50 and
(c) can run without batteries

— I’m simply not interested. This is a huge digital industry, probably the biggest we have seen so far (much larger than the Internet) but with the gear on offer now, it’s not going anywhere much. I mean, okay, great news fun each time soembody brings out what’s essentially a slightly different copy of what’s already on the market; but as a serious contender in the new digital age . . . . forget it.



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