ePub – open file format for eBooks

ePub is an eBook file format which allows text to be reflowed and resized to fit almost any screen or device.

In an era where your document might be read on a gigantic computer monitor or a tiny iPod, this is a huge advantage.

While ePubs can include graphics, it’s best for text-intensive files. While not good for graphic novels or an art book, it can handle just about anything you would create in Word or LibreOffice from a short poem to a full novel.  It would be a very good way to publish syllabus, for example.

Reading ePubs: ePub is an open standard and is the native file format for Nook and Sony Reader eBook readers. (Sadly, Kindle has its own format.) Other devices will need an ePub reader/app.  iPad users have iBooks which I haven’t used but seems cool. Google Play offers an app for Android users. On Windows and Linux, I use Calibre.

Creating ePubs: For creating files, Pages (OsX) and Abobe InDesign directly support ePub. Most users will need Calibre or Sigil to convert their word processor document to an ePub. It’s not difficult but it is an extra step. Sigil is my favorite. If you are a little geeky, ePub is form of XHTML and there are number of tools for that format.

I expect that ePub will be much better supported in the near future and will be an enduring file format. Google Books, Project Gutenberg and my local library use ePub. I suspect that many more will follow.


Tool: ePub
Description: a file format for eBooks
License: free and open-source.
Alternatives: PDF, .mobi (for kindle), HTML, RTF
Rating: very useful

2 comments on “ePub – open file format for eBooks

  1. Pingback:Calligra Suite – ambitious but uneven office and productivity tools « Craig Hallman's Open Libraries Blog

  2. Pingback:AbiWord – the more-daring, skinny little sister of LibreOffice Writer. « Craig Hallman's Open Libraries Blog

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