A lot of advantages of eBooks over hard-copy books provided ‘eBooks’ unprecedented flourishing popularity in the contemporary world. The portability and cost-efficiency of eBooks helped to grow like anything, and it has been holding more than 30 percent of the global book sell share.
Although the advantages of eBooks do not assure every reader ease of operation, EBooks are still not metamorphosed like prevalent music formats like MP3 or image format JPEG. The present eBook formats are still very complicated and have a variety of proprietary concerns.
Thus, I am going to enlighten you today on various eBook formats along with their compatibility and other relevant information so that you could choose your eBook format wisely.
10 Most Popular eBook Formats
Perhaps the most popular eBook file format among all is ePub. The International Digital Publishing Forum, the IDPF, developed this in 2007. Following the release of this format ePub, the market of digital books almost dumped the preceding popular Open eBook Format, the OEB, and replaced it with ePub.
Because of the open standard, vendor independence, and cost-efficiency, the popularity of this format brimmed within a short while. Unlike the previous other formats, this format supports SVG graphics, color images, full videos, and interactive elements, which supported its overnight popularity further.
This format of eBook is as popular and reliable as MP3 files in the music industry because of many reasons. Almost all the mainstream modern devices support this eBook format except the Amazon Kindle.
(Except for the Amazon Kindle Fire, no other version of Kindle supports EPUB format. Thereby, you must convert this format using a converter before reading it onto your eBook reading device.) Last but not least, this format supports the DRM system, which might be a point of interest for many authors.
Likewise the ePub format, the Mobi also emerged from the primitive OEB file format. The French development company Mobipocket introduced this to the world of readers in 2000 as Mobipocket Reader.
Since then, the popularity of this format had flourished like anything. However, Amazon bought this company in 2005 and continued this till 2016. In October of 2016, Amazon decided to discontinue Mobipocket Reader. However, they are continuing the file format still now with their product Amazon Kindle.
The Mobi extension does not provide any support for sound, and video in its files, though, the major difference between ePub and Mobi files is the unavailability of open standards in Mobi files.
Thus, Mobi files are not publicly available. This format supports almost all eBook readers except Barnes and Nobel Nook. The PRC extension is also used by MOBI files.
3. AZW and AZW3
The AZW is Amazon’s own format of eBook files, for its Kindle users. AZW was launched back in 2007 for the first time. After four years of the launch, the AZW Company introduced the new AZW3 alongside the introduction of the Kindle Fire.
Your Amazon Kindle downloads books from the Amazon store in one of these two formats; however, AZW3 has many advantages over the ancient AZW format. The AZW3 supports more fonts, layouts, and styles.
Back in 2005, Amazon purchased Mobipocket, and following that event, amazon launched its own format of eBooks for Kindle. Later on, we noticed a visible similarity between the Mobi format and the AWZ format of Amazon.
The resemblance reveals the purpose of the takeover of Amazon, although Amazon has never revealed anything related to this. Unlike the Mobi format, the AWZ3 has the support of both music and video files.
This format is the patent format of Amazon but is not popular among eBook readers like EPUB and MOBI format. You would not be able to use this on any other device like Nook and Kobo-e-reader.
However, the advantage is that both the popular operating systems, Mac and Windows, can read both AWZ and AWZ3 formats of eBooks. Further, you can open these files with Calibre and Alfa, like eBook management applications.
IBA is another exclusive eBook format of Apple Corporation for its users of the iBook Author application. This format is widely used and has many advantages; thus, you should use this at least once if you are an Apple user.
This ebook extension is unreadable on any random eBook reader. You can call this extension an alternative to ePub for Apple users. This format supports sound, image, video, and other interactive digital elements.
However, if you purchase the regular eBooks on Apple’s iTunes store, then you would not be able to read those books in the IBA format.
The PDF is the most widely adopted format by the internet and digital community across the globe, thereby the amount of distribution of this format is the most noticeable among all the alternatives of it.
The PDF format became ISO: 32000 certified in 2008, and likewise ePub, it is another eBook format on our list, which has open standard.
One of the major drawbacks of this format is the deficit of reflowing. This means it is not that dynamic concerning the presentation of the contents, the file is unable to adopt any screen resolution because of its lack of intellect.
Whereas, all the alternative eBook file formats offer good reflowing of files based upon the order of contents. The PDF format can circumvent the deficit of reflowing of contents using the tag mechanism. However, the tagged PDFs are still not supported by every eBook reader, and it needs a huge development to become a real alternative for reflowing.
Some lesser-known eBook Formats
There are some other lesser popular formats of eBooks available on the market, and for your knowledge enhancement, we are mentioning some names from this segment.
6. LRS, LRF, and LRX
Sony, the technology giant, has developed LRS, LRF, and LXR for its eBook readers. These formats are not supported by other eBook readers because Sony has its proprietorship on these formats.
These extensions are mainly for Broad Band eBook formats. Except for the LRS extension, the LXR format does not have any open standard. However, Sony has provided support with all three extensions for the ePub format of eBooks.
Another famous eBook file format is FB2, developed in Russia. This format is capable of storing metadata within the file itself, which comes in very handy in some cases. Readers love to use this format to store their favorite digital books because of its lesser-complicated conversion mechanism to other formats.
One of the most advanced eBook file formats is DJVU. An eminent scientific community has developed this. The compression mechanism of this format is much more efficient than PDF compression; this format is capable of storing 100 monochrome text lines in less than 1MB of memory.
The Microsoft Corporation developed this eBook format for its Microsoft Reader application users. This file format was DRM enabled. However, Microsoft decided not to continue with this eBook format anymore in 2011. After the discontinuation of this format, Microsoft also abandoned the Reader application.
The ability of reflowing and formatting of text made this one of the most popular eBook file formats among readers. Furthermore, this format can retain special characters. This format of digital book file is compatible with almost any available eBook reader in the contemporary world.
EPUB vs. MOBI vs. AZW: Which One Is Best?
However, I have mentioned the ten most popular formats of eBooks you need to take a deeper insight into ePub, Mobi, and AZW formats only.
As per your requirement, you have to choose the appropriate format for your eBook. If you consider Kindle to store your eBook over other devices, then you might stick with MOBI format instead of others.
The ePub is widely popular among readers who have a longing for making a sizable book library on the computer. Lastly, the AWZ can provide you the optimum compatibility; you can use any of your eBook readers to read AWZ files without a doubt.