As publishing moves in a digital direction, ebook formats are becoming increasingly popular. Each device is built a specific way and each device has its specific technical requirements for displaying an ebook file. By having some basic knowledge about the different ebook formats, you will have a better understanding of which format is best for you and your individual needs. 


Types of Ebook Formats

Knowing at least the basics of ebooks formats will allow you to choose which format you will be comfortable with. There are multiple formats available but ChatEbooks lists down some of the most popular ebook formats for you to choose from.



One of the formats recognized by Amazon, PDF stands for “portable document format”. This format adds support for features such as compression, passwords, and semantic structures. PDF files are supported by nearly all modern ebook readers, tablets, and smartphones. It should be noted that while PDFs can be transferred to an ereader, the PDF files cannot be purchased through ebook stores such as Amazon. 


Considered the “universal” ebook format, EPUB is supported by iPad, Nook, Kobo Reader and most ereaders. The only notable ereader that lacks support for the EPUB format is the Amazon Kindle. These programs give people the ability to read ebooks on their laptops or computers, instead of purchasing a separate device. EPUB format is an open standard format, meaning it is free and publicly available although there are some specific rules users must follow to use it. 


Another well known ebook format is Mobi. It can only be used exclusively by the Amazon Kindle ereader. Various Kindle apps, such as Kindle for PC, Kindle for Mac, and Kindle for iPad are also supported by Mobi. The reader has a full screen mode for reading. This also allows support for many PDAs, communicators, and smartphones. 


AZW is an Amazon format that is used exclusively by the Amazon Kindle. Basically, it is a Mobi format that uses a high compression option. AZW files can be opened on smartphones (iPhone, Andriod, and Blackberry), computers, and tablets. 


eReader is an ebook format that allows users to view Palm Digital Media electronic books that use the pdf by several Palm applications. This reader shows pages one at a time, just as a paper book does. This ebook format supports iPhone, Palm OS, Android, Symbian, Blackberry, Windows Mobile Pocket PC/Smartphone, Windows desktop, and Macintosh. 

Multiple formats can cause confusion. By gaining a better understanding of all of the popular ebook formats out there, you should be able to distinguish the difference between each one and know the devices that support each type. 


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