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Detail from Sculling on the Potomac by J. Love, 1888

Detail from Sculling on the Potomac by J. Love, 1888. From the University Art CollectionBooth Family Center for Special Collections

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What are e-book formats?

Last Updated: Nov 13, 2013  |  57 Views

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When e-books are downloaded to your computer, they are saved in specific file formats (like a text document can be saved in a Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format format). The file format will determine the program needed to read the e-book on your computer or other device. Some of the most common file formats include:

  • PDF (Adobe Digital Editions) - secured to protect copyrighted content and requires the free Adobe Digital Editions software.
  • PDF (unsecured) - freely readable by any PDF document reader, including the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • EPUB (secured) - an open, e-book standard, but with content secured to protect copyright. Requires authorization to read contents, such as that provided by Adobe Digital Editions.
  • EPUB (unsecured) - an open, e-book standard, freely readable by many e-book applications for computers and mobile devices.
  • AZW - a proprietary file format managed by Amazon and readable only on Amazon Kindle devices and applications. Generally not used for library e-books.
  • KF8 - a proprietary file format managed by Amazon and readable only on Amazon Kindle devices and applications. Generally not used for library e-books.

More information about e-book file formats and their capabilities is available from Wikipedia.

For more information about library e-books, please visit our E-Book Guide, where you can learn how to find e-books in our collection, download them for offline use, or transfer them to your tablet or e-book reader.

Answered by Mark WinekBookmark and Share

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