eBook Reader & File Formats

eBook Reader & File Formats
eBook Reader Formats Expanded

There is much confusion about eBook Readers and the formats accepted. When you are shopping for an eBook Reader, it is essential that you understand and review the file formats accepted. A good way to understand why this is important is to look at the PC vs. the MAC. When you purchase a MAC computer only programs written specifically for the MAC will work. It is the same way with eBook Readers. eBook Readers only accept files formats that are compatible with their specifications. Each eBook format has advantages and disadvantages so do your homework.

Let us review the most popular formats.


.mobi is the file extension for mobi pocket. The platforms that can use this format are Windows PC, Palm, Pocket PC, Windows Mobile and iLiad. This format can be used on any PC or mobile device. Some features are bookmarks and table of content.

Amazon Kindle

Amazon.com created a proprietary format with the file extension .azw. The .azw is based on the mobipocket standard with slight variations and it’s own DRM formatting. This format is now available on other eBook readers.

Microsoft Reader:

The file format for Microsoft Reader is .lit. This format can be read on platforms using Windows PC and Windows Mobile. Features include ClearType display, a book-like reading environment, bookmarks and annotations.


This platform uses Windows PC, Mac OS X, Palm, Windows Mobile, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch can be used on many popular mobile devices. Features include bookmarks and table of contents.

The Adobe format is derived from PostScript with added features. Specification for this format is provided free from Adobe. The file extension is .pfd and depending upon the eBook Reader the display may be difficult to read. Platforms that accept the .pdf file type include Windows PC, Mac OS X, Sony Reader, Nook, BeBook, COOL-ER Windows and Mac compatible. Features include bookmarks and single or double page view.

.epub is the file format and is an open standard for eBooks. This format can be read by many eBook readers such as Windows PC, Mac OS X, Sony Reader, Nook, BeBook, COOL-ER Windows and Mac compatible. Features include bookmarks and single or double page view.

Plain Text
This is a very popular format and accepted on virtually all eBook Readers. The file extension is .txt and is very small in size. Since it is in the ASCII standard it only allows ASCII-only text files.

This is the language used on most web pages. Reading and displaying HTML files on an eBook Reader is very difficult so it is not recommended. The file extension is either .htm or .html.

This is another proprietary file format with the extension .tr2 or .tr3. Depending upon the platform used to display the eBook you will find many differences when using this format.

This file format is XML based. The file format is .fb2 and many free eBooks will be found using this format.

Now that you have the most popular file formats for eBook Readers you need to see which eBook Readers use what file formats. Listed below are some of the most popular eBook Readers and the supported file formats.

Amazon Kindle accepts the following eBook Reader formats:
.txt, .pdf, .mobi, .azw

Amazon Kindle 3
.txt, .pdf, .mobi, .azw, .html

Android Devices
.txt, .pdf, mobi, html, .epub, .fb2, .djvu, .pdb, .azw, .tr2, .tr3

Apple iOS Devices
.txt, .pdf, .mobi, .html, .epub, .fb2, .djvu, .pdb, .azw, .tr2, .tr3

Barnes and Noble Nook
.txt, .pdf, .mobi, .pdb

COOL-ER Classic
.txt, .pdf, mobi, html, .epub, .fb2

iRex iLiad
.txt, .pdf, .epub, .mobi, .djvu

Kobo Reader
.txt, .pdf, .epub

Sony Reader
.txt, .pdf, .epub, .lrf, .lrx

An eBook Reader is a great tool. A tool becomes great when the intended purposes matches expectation. Before purchasing an eBook Reader make sure that the eBooks you are wanting come in the file extension accepted on the eBook Reader choice.

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