Digital File Formats

Digital file formats for eBooks can often be separated into two general categories: fixed layout formats, and reflowable formats.

Fixed layout formats are typically designed for printing. The contents of fixed layout files are displayed on the screen in the same way that they will appear once printed. Images, words, paragraphs, and columns are positioned at fixed coordinates within a page. The layout of the page is determined by the publisher. We use the Adobe PDF format for our fixed layout publications. PDF files are generally best viewed on a computer, as smaller devices are sometimes unable to display the content accurately.

Reflowable formats are typically designed to be displayed on devices where the screen size is not known. The content of the publication is reflowed, and the text is automatically wrapped to fit and adapt to the screen size of the user’s device. The user (rather than the publisher) chooses the font family, font size, margin size, etc., and adjusts these features as desired. Our reflowable format publications use either the AZW, EPUB, MOBI, or PRC file formats. The EPUB format is fast becoming an industry standard, and EPUB files can be read by most modern eBook reader devices. MOBI and PRC formats are typically associated with small screen devices such as Palm and Blackberry. The AZW file format is used by Amazon’s Kindle.

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