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eBook Creation 101: Formats

DIY eBook creation instruction. Learn how to create, license, publish, and promote your own ebook.

Most Popular Formats

These are the three most popular types of eBook formats:

.epub

epub is a free and open format.  It's used on Kobo, Sony, and Nook devices.  epubs won't work on Kindles.

 

.mobi

mobi is a proprietary format from Amazon.  It's only used on Kindles and can't be used on other devices.

 

.pdf

Portable document format is a file format that's independent of software, hardware, and operating system.  It can play on almost all e-readers.

Which Format(s) Should I Choose?

In Canada, Amazon has 50% of the marketshare, with Rakuten Kobo 25% and Apple eBooks 14%. Amazon's default format is .mobi. Kobo uses .epub. Source

If users are downloading eBooks from their public libraries, chances are that they're getting used to content from OverDrive, which is currently only available in .epub in Canada. 

It's always wise to create a .PDF file, so your book can be viewed independent of devices.

Supporting Platforms

Chart from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_e-book_formats

Reader  Plain text PDF ePub HTML Mobi- Pocket Fiction- Book (Fb2) DjVu Broadband eBook (BBeB)[h 1] eReader[h 1] Kindle[h 1] WOLF[h 1] Tome Raider[h 1] Open eBook[h 2] Comic Book OpenXPS
Amazon Kindle 1 Yes No No No Yes No No No No Yes No No No ? ?
Amazon Kindle 2, DX Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No No No Yes No No No ? ?
Amazon Kindle 3 Yes Yes No[h 3] Yes Yes No No No No Yes No No No ? ?
Amazon Kindle Fire Yes Yes Yes[h 4] Yes Yes No No No No Yes No No No ? ?
Android Devices Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[h 5][34] Yes Yes[h 5][35] No Yes[h 5][36] Yes No Yes[h 5][29] Yes[h 5] ? Yes
Apple iOS Devices Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[h 5] Yes[h 5] Yes[h 5] No Yes[h 5] Yes[h 5] No Yes[h 5] Yes[h 5] Yes[h 6] ?
Azbooka WISEreader Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No ? ?
Barnes & Noble Nook Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No Yes No No No No ? ?
Barnes & Noble Nook Color Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No No No ? ?
Bookeen Cybook Gen3, Opus Yes Yes Yes[h 7] Yes Yes[h 7] Yes[h 8] No No No No No No Yes ? ?
COOL-ER Classic Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No ? ?
Linux Operating System Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[h 9] Yes Yes[h 10] ? ? ? ? ? Yes Yes
Foxit eSlick Yes Yes Yes No No No No No Yes No No No No ? ?
Hanlin e-Reader V3 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes No No ? ?
Hanvon WISEreader Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No No No ? ?
iRex iLiad Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No No No No No No ? ?
Iriver Story Yes Yes Yes No No Yes[h 5] Yes[h 5] No No No No No No ? ?
Kobo eReader Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No No Yes ?
Nokia N900 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No Yes Yes ?
NUUTbook 2 Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No No No No ? ?
OLPC XO, Sugar Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No No No No No No ? ?
Onyx Boox 60 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No ? ?
Mac OS X Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes ? ? Yes ? ?
TrekStor eBook Reader Pyrus[37] Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No Yes No No No ? ? ?
Windows Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[h 11] Yes ? Yes Yes[h 12] ? ? Yes ? Yes[h 13]
Pocketbook 301 Plus, 302, 360° Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No ? ?
Pocketbook Aqua Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No ? ?
Sony Reader Yes Yes Yes No No No No Yes No No No No No ? ?
Viewsonic VEB612 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No No ? ?
Windows Phone 7 Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No Yes No No No ? ?

 

Subject Guide

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Kathleen Reed
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Contact:
Assessment and Data Librarian
Vancouver Island University
900 Fifth Street
Nanaimo, BC
V9R 5S5

Email: kathleen.reed@viu.ca
Phone: 250-753-3245
Local: 2271
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