Thursday, June 6, 2013

5 Publishing Formats

Mention e-books and everyone automatically thinks of Amazon's Kindle but that's not the whole story if you want to make it as a top publishing company – you need to be aware of the others and their markets.

Here are five of the main formats and how they are used:


Variety is the spice of life, they say
Mobi or mobipocket as it is more correctly called, was developed around an HTML framework by a French company to be used largely by PDA's (Personal Digital Assistant). Later on their programmers expanded the application’s coverage to include the first ebooks. Amazon took over the software 8 years ago and then combined it with their own Kindle readers, giving it the household name status that it currently enjoys.

With freely available software for the PC, Mac, Blackberry, Android or Apple, there are few people who do not possess the wherewithal to read a Mobipocket ebook.

File extensions: .azw, .mobi and .prc (no significant differences)


Utilizing an XHTML platform, ePub was intended to be the industry standard for electronic books allowing, as it does, a greater range of formatting possibilities than the rather limited mobi file extension. Without Amazon's choice of mobi, ePub might well have become more popular however it’s still used by the Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony Reader, the Apple range of iReaders, Linux computers and Android-based tablets.

Turning one's back on the ePub market is ill-advised and the top publishing company will be well aware of this.
File extension: .epub


PDF or Portable Document Format might seem a surprising inclusion on this list but it's got a very definite marketplace. The format was introduced by Acrobat to allow universal reading of material without the need to buy an expensive software package such as Microsoft Office. Its beauty is this universality but PDF is not without its drawbacks such as page scalability issues and also the time investment in creating a working table of contents.

As any top publishing company will tell you, there are plenty of 'quick-fix' conversion programs which will convert a standard document file to PDF but it takes care and painstaking attention to detail to create a table of contents - something which will be expected of you by your readers.

PDF is popular with companies like Gardners who distribute, inter alia, to the major supermarket chains.

File extension: .pdf


Using PML (Palm Markup Language) instead of HTML, PDB works as a text-type file with formatting tags which is then reassembled into an e-book using an application such as Studio or Dropbook. It's favored primarily by Blackberry, Palm, PocketPC, iPhone/iTouch and Android and Symbian devices.

It's usage by Barnes & Noble's eReader makes it worth considering as an outsider.

File extension: .pdb


LIT was developed by Microsoft using a compressed HTML system nearly 10 years ago. Nowadays, with a rapidly dwindling market, it's hard to find a top publishing company who will want to devote resources towards creating books in this format. That said, there are still some customers who use it.

File extension: .lit

Any Subject Books offers a full range of services to the self-publisher including formatting and editing. See the website for more details and current rates.

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