E-book Basics

January 2010
by Joshua Tallent

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E-book Basics

by Joshua Tallent

As an e-book developer and consultant, I have seen a broad array of books cross my desk. Most of these have subsequently graced the screens of the Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, and iPhone, while a few have been too complex to get past the current limitations of the e-book formats and devices on the market right now.

What follows is basic information about the e-book formats available today, plus pointers about how to handle certain kinds of book elements in e-book formats.

Format Options


Many people still think “e-book” means “PDF.” Adobe’s Portable Document Format has long been the most popular format for selling e-book content to consumers, because most computers have a PDF-viewing program. It has also offered some level of piracy protection with built-in Digital Rights Management (DRM).

However, many other e-book formats are on the market, and some of them are becoming much more popular than PDFs. The two most important e-book formats are ePub and Mobipocket.


ePub is an open e-book formatting standard based on technologies like XML and HTML and ma…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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