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If You Know The Extension of the Party You are Looking For…
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With so many different formats of ebooks available when purchasing ebooks, it can often be confusing to figure out which file you need and for what device. Nothing sucks worse than buying the wrong darn file. If you haven’t purchased an ereader yet, I highly suggest you take files into consideration before buying. The iPad mini and the Kindle accept the largest amount of varying files and are the best bet for avid readers. While there are hundreds of file extensions available, I have only listed the nine that are accepted for documents and ebooks on the most commonly used ereaders mentioned in a previous article.
The EPUB file is short for electronic publication. It is a free Open Publication Structure format that can be easily opened by your computer as well as most ereaders, just not the Kindle. However, there is software available, such as Calibre, that will convert any EPUB file into another format best suited for your Kindle viewing.
The MOBI file is a Mobipocket ebook file most notably used by Kindle. However, if you do not have a Kindle, don’t fret, using a free program like Calibre or Mobipocket reader will open them just fine
A TXT file is as basic as they come. It is a file that contains characters which represent a defined ASCII code. You can open these files with any Notepad. I have yet to come across a book in a TXT file.
The AZW format is exclusive to the Kindle ebook. If you do not have a Kindle, you can get the Amazon Kindle app on your smartphone or the Kindle Cloud Reader to read these files on your computer.
PDF is a Portable Document File by Adobe and can be opened in Adobe Reader, as well as in many ereaders on both a smartphone and a computer. This is a popular formatting for ebooks.
You probably recognize the DOC file as it is a file most commonly associated with Microsoft Word and is the standard when sharing documents. I have never come across an ebook as a DOC as the more current versions of Word are capable of saving files as a PDF. If you are needing to open a DOC and do not have Microsoft Word, you can use a program such as Microsoft Office Word Viewer, Open Office or Google Docs; all free.
PRC files are generally used by Palm applications and system updates, as well as Corel Presentation software. If you come across a PRC ebook, you can use the Mobipocket Reader to open them.
Most people are familiar with the HTML file. It stands for Hypertext Markup Language and is the main language used for web page design, or whatever is being displayed in your browser. You can create an entire website merely by knowing the HTML code. This is not an ebook format but I include it because many ereaders accept this type of file.
PPT is the PowerPoint file extension for Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation file. The easiest way to open a PPT file is either by having PowerPoint installed on your computer or installing the PowerPoint Viewer. I own nearly a thousand ebooks and have yet to come across one as a PPT. Again, I include it in this list because many of the ereaders accept this file for viewing presentations and slide shows.
Because we never truly find the droids…
Okay, I admit this was probably the most deadening article you have ever read and if you have made it this far, you either really truly needed to know more about file types, or you really love to torture yourself. Please, no explanation needed! If the latter is the case, it probably means you already have a solid grasp on what ebooks your ereader will accept. However, maybe someone you know doesn’t, like your Grandma who just got her first iPad, or your little sister who finally realized that her Kindle is an ereader and not just a blown up smartphone that never rings and to play games on, and mom or dad don’t really have a clue either. This is for them. Share with them. Teach them. And then come back here and thank me for this awfully painful, eye gauging article. You’re welcome!