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What we need to know about file formats in an e-book

People read e-books more than ever – they are cheap, comfortable to carry, even when we are on vacation, we do not need to use a special device to enjoy them, because we can do it on our phone, n.

But there is also a disagreement for consumers. Unlike MP3s that you can place on any music player and expect it to work, books are a maze of patented and standard formats, not all electronic readers support all formats.

From Use Get some of the most common formats highlighting their pros and cons.


EPUB is the most widely accepted e-book format. Originally developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum (now part of the World Wide Web Consortium), it replaced the old Open ebook format (OEB). EPUB is free, open source, and independent of vendors, it has become the most popular eBook format. The format can support color images, SVG graphics, interactive elements and video clips.

Almost all standard electronic readers and computer operating systems support this format, but publishers can load it with any DRM system of their choice (although you can remove the DRM protection of any e-book you own).

Amazon Kindle devices can not read EPUB (except Kindle Fire Tablet). If you have a book in EPUB format that you want to read on your Kindle, you will need to convert it to another format using Caliber earlier.


Similar to EPUB, the MOBI format is also derived from the old OEB format. The French company Mobipocket developed it in 2000 and continues to form the basis of the Mobipocket Reader software. Amazon bought the company in 2005 and developed it in the past 11 years. In October 2016, Amazon closed the Mobipocket website and servers, but the MOBI format continued to exist.

There are several key differences between EPUB and MOBI. First, MOBI is not an open standard and therefore is not publicly available. It also can not support sound or video. Maintained by all major electronic readers, except Barnes and Noble dining.

AZW and AZW3

AZW and AZW3 formats are owned by Amazon. AZW is the oldest of them; he debuted with the first Kindle in 2007. AZW3 appeared in 2011 with a Kindle Fire. Every time you buy or download an Amazon eBook, you will receive it on your device in one of two formats. AZW3 is more developed than AZW. Supports multiple styles, fonts, and sketches.

Both formats are very similar to MOBI, with the difference that they support both video and sound. AZW, however, is not so widely supported by electronic readers as EPUB and MOBI. Of course, all Amazon products can read the form, but other popular devices, such as eating readers and kobo, can not. Android and iOS can read the AWZ file.


Another patented e-book format that you will most likely encounter is the IBA. This is a format used for books created in the Apple iBooks Author application. Technically, the form is very similar to EPUB. However, it relies on personalized code in the Apple Books application to function and can not be universally read by all electronic readers.

Remember, this format is only used for books written in iBooks Author. If you buy iTunes books, they will be in EPUB format. IBA supports video, audio, images and interactive elements.


Due to the widespread distribution of the web format, PDFs have become the most popular way to provide e-books. PDF files are not yet widely supported by eBook readers.


LRS, LRF and LRX are file extensions for the broadband ebook format. They are created by Sony for their range of eBook readers. The LRS is now an open standard, but LRF and LRX remain closed. However, Sony has left all three formats in favor of EPUB.


FB2-based XML began in Russia. This is a common format thanks to its ability to store metadata in the e-book itself. Another advantage is the ease with which it can be converted to other formats.


DJVU is popular with the scientific community. It has a compression that is approximately 10 times better than PDF. Format allows you to capture high-resolution images in small files. DJVU is designed to store and display scanned books, magazines, catalogs, documents, scientific materials and other images. Expansion is for graphic formats and can be opened on platforms such as Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, BlackBerry OS, iOS Android, Symbian OS.


LIT is a Microsoft eBook reader format that can be read in the Microsoft Reader application. In 2011, Microsoft suspended LIT format.


The RFT format is compatible with any electronic reader on the market. It has an advantage over TXT because of its ability to retain special characters and its support for reformatting and formatting the text.

See what we need to know about popular video formats and codecs

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