Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

eBooks and Mobile Options: Digital Formats and Terminology

Ebook Terminology

 

                                                                                                        by  libraryman 

  

Adobe Digital Editions free application for PC and Mac computers in which you can read and manage epub and pdf ebooks, either unprotected or with Adobe DRM.

Bluefire Reader software app available for Apple, Android and Windows devices that allows users to read ebooks.

DRM (Digital Rights Management) system designed to protect ebook files from opening by unauthorized users or on unauthorized devices. You can’t read Kindle ebook on Nook and Nook ebook on Kindle, because they have different DRMs.

epub (ePub, EPUB) most popular type of a file format in which ebooks are prepared. Text in epub file can be optimized for a specific device. You can change font size and typeface. The file extension is .epub

iOS operating system of mobile devices from Apple: iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

mobi (mobipocket) type of a digital file format, which can be read on Kindle ereaders. The file extension is .mobi

pdf ebook file format with a fixed layout, text and graphics. A newer version is pdf reflowable, where text can be optimized for a specific device. This is especially helpful for small-screen devices like smartphones.

 

 

 

Common Ebook Formats

PDF [.pdf]

DRM: Yes

Works With:

Adobe Acrobat Reader | Adobe Digital Editions

Amazon Kindle Barnes & Noble Nook | Sony Reader | Kobo eReader | Other E-Readers

iOS Devices | Android OS Devices | Other Smartphones [With Compatible Applications]

PDF is a very common format for distributing documents and ebooks, and by far the most common format you will find in the NCC Library's collections. Many PDFs in our collections are protected by DRM, and for those the best reading method is Adobe Digital Editions. DRM-protected PDFs can be used on portable devices if the device supports Adobe's DRM, but otherwise the file will not open. For PDFs without DRM, almost any current reading device, smartphone, or computer should be compatible. A variety of PDF readers exist for non-protected PDF files, but the most common is Adobe Acrobat.


ePub [.ePub]

DRM: Yes

Works With:

Adobe Digital Editions

Barnes & Noble Nook | Sony Reader | Kobo eReader | Other E-Readers

iOS Devices | Android OS Devices | Other Smartphones [With Compatible Applications]

ePub is one of the more widely-used ebook distribution formats. It is compatible with almost all major e-readers (except the Amazon Kindle) and there are many programs that can read the format as well, most notably Adobe Digital Editions, which is one of the most popular ebook programs. ePub files can be protected by DRM, so the device or program you use must support the DRM for the file to work. For DRM-protected ePub books, the best reader is Adobe Digital Editions, or a device that supports the DRM. For unprotected ePub files, any device or program that supports ePub will work.


Mobi [.prc | .mobi]

DRM: Yes

Works With:

Mobipocket Reader

Amazon Kindle or Kindle App | Other E-Readers

iOS Devices | Android OS Devices | Other Smartphones [With Compatible Applications]

The Mobipocket format is an ebook format commonly associated with e-reader devices like the Amazon Kindle. The format sometimes has DRM, but not always. If a Mobipocket ebook is protected by DRM, the program or device that attempts to read it must support the DRM or the ebook will not work. Generally, if you have a DRM-protected Mobipocket ebook, the best way to read it is with Mobipocket's software on either a Windows PC or one of their supported devices. If your Mobipocket ebook is not protected by DRM, it will work on any program or device (like the Kindle) that supports the format.


eReader/Palm Digital Media [.pdb]

DRM: Yes

Works With:

eReader Application

Barnes & Noble Nook

iOS Devices | Android OS Devices | Other Smartphones [With Compatible Applications]

Palm Digital Media (sometimes referred to as eReader format) is a method of distributing ebooks which is somewhat unpopular relative to the others listed here, but there are still many ebooks in this format. These files may be protected by DRM, in which case the files will only work with programs and devices that support the DRM. If the file is not DRM protected, any application or device that supports the format will be able to read it.


Plain Text and HTML [.txt | .htm | .html]

DRM: No

Works With:

- Browsers

- Text Editors

- Almost Any Device or Program

Plain text and HTML files are sometimes used to distribute ebooks. They are both very simple and small file types, and they never have DRM. Any program capable of handling text will be able to open .txt files, and most will be compatible with HTML. A surefire way to read either of these formats is to open them with a web browser (any web browser will work).