eBooks are the new trend in book publishing that people are adopting so as to reach a wider audience. Print books are still very much in use. People with portable devices prefer eBooks since they are more convenient and one can access their content while on the go. eBooks entered the market just a few years ago, and they seem to be growing in their popularity. Many questions revolve around the subject of eBooks, and they include its definition, the workflows of creation, the file formats and formatting.
What is an eBook?
Many people think that this is a very simple question to answer, but it isn’t. When you can understand what an eBook is, all other thornier issues melt into the background. Most people define an eBook as a digital file which you can read the text by using a digital device like a smartphone, a tablet, and a computer. As much as this is a correct answer, it covers so many documents that do not necessarily pass as eBooks.
When we think of Word Documents, one can share and compose formatted text, and one can also add hyperlinks and images just as is the case in eBooks. The Word Documents, however, are meant for purposes of editing and writing text not for distributing commercially. Readers should be able to rewrite different sections of books without the authorization of doing that.
This is a digital file that many people call an eBook, but in truth, it isn’t. Adobe was able to invent the universal portable file format which is used for the distribution of any print documents in a digital way. We can now share personal documents via the internet, and it is how publishers have been able to transfer files that are ready to be printed to commercial printers.
PDF isn’t an eBook because the format is retained regardless of the screen size which displays it. The PDF is always accurate in the paper document representation which it represents regardless of the screen size, be it a monitor, a laptop, an iPad or phone screen.
For a PDF, the page is the basic unit. When the screen shrinks, the page size does too, and the size of the words also decreases. This means that with some gadgets, the readability is completely distorted and there is no way you can read a PDF on a small screen.
For a real eBook, the formatted images and texts are represented in the correct way, regardless of the display size that is used for the display. For this to be possible, eBooks can remove the whole page idea so as to ensure that the text formats so as to flow in the proper way. When a screen is full, then the rest of the information flows into the next one. That means that the text is reflowable.
As with images, they resize. This is true when the book is well designed. The images resize to the present screen proportions. This makes the book more attractive and even easier to read on all sorts of devices.
All the software applications that are designed for eBook reading have got reader controls, and some of the visions aren’t, as it was before, can be made larger. If one doesn’t like a particular font, this can be changed too. These are things that one can do so well without needing to make alterations to that particular eBook. These are changes that are within the app and that a user can change at any time.
There is yet another file that can pretty much do the same thing that the eBooks do, and that is the web page. The web pages offer users the kind of flexibility that is required by the eBooks. It is for this reason that when the IDPF began trying out new standards for eBooks a decade ago, the web language HTML was used as a building block which was very basic.
During this establishment, there were lots of eBook formats that were competing, which distributors and publishers wanted tech companies to adopt.
- Mobipocket or Palm’s database driven Mobi files
- Microsoft LIT which is HTML based among others.
IDPF came up with a format which was able to create a set of self-contained HTML files in a format which was very specific, and they called it ePUB. This has now become a standard file format which is used on eBooks. Many eBook reader devices and apps make use of different variations of the file format so as to display images as well as texts in the correct way.
This includes all Amazon Kindles. The ePUB file is a self-contained package that has different HTML files and its very own styles of formatting as well as navigation document that makes certain that all things are displayed in the correct order. That is what eBook is.
Understanding the eBook and formats brings up many exchanges, in particular between the clients and the designers. This is because the pages depend on the device that you have. If you are using a laptop, then the page may not be the same as for the tablet or iPhone. It is very important to understand this aspect.
There is also the KF8 format from Amazon, and this is an ePUB variation standard. Also, the AZW2 files on Kindle or Kindle apps are also an ePUB variation. AZW files are simpler, and they are Mobi files that have some rights management attached.
eBooks have been with us for a while, and they have totally brought about a revolution in the print world. eBooks are here to stay, and we may see even more additions regarding formats and features in future.