ePub eBooks Overview

People seemed enthusiastic about ePub in a recent post’s comments, so I thought I’d do a post all about ePub. I’ve written this info elsewhere, but ePub really is a great ebook format, so I’d say it’s information that is worth repeating. If you’re wondering how to make an ebook or just getting into e-publishing, ePub is probably a good place to start.

ePub StandardsIDPF

ePub is the current open ebook format that is standardized by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). ePub files come with the .epub file extension and can be read with a variety of different ebook programs and e-reading devices. They are easy to use and create.

The ePub ebook format is goverened by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). They maintain current standards on the format. IDPF is also the organization that standardized the “open ebook” format, which was the precursor to ePub. You can find a complete list of format specifications on their website.

Here are the most important points about the ePub standard format:

  • It’s free and open standard
  • It uses re-flowable text, which means that the text will re-orient itself to match your screen size
  • It supports images
  • It uses CSS
  • It can support DRM, but DRM is not required
  • It makes use of metadata

What does that mean for you, a reader of ebooks? In a nutshell, it means that ePub files are generally easy to work with and can be used on a variety of operating systems and devices.

ePub-compatible eReaders

ePub eReader DeviceseReading devices that can use ePub eBooks include the following:

Acer Lumiread, Android devices, Barnes & Noble Nook, BeBook (all models), Cybook Gen3 and Opus, COOL-ER, Cruz Reader, Ctaindia’s eGriver Ebook Reader, eClicto, eSlick, Hanlin eReader, Hanvon N516, N518, N520, N526, iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch (using Stanza or iBooks), iRex Digital Reader 800, 1000, iRiver Story, Kobo eReader, Pandigital Novel, Plastic Logic, PocketBook Reader, Sony Reader.

This list is probably not comprehensive, and you should check the tech specs of your particular reading device to verify whether it can use .epub files or not. It probably can.

Free ePub Software

Adobe Digital Editions
Reads both DRM and non-DRM epub ebooks. Most people aren’t jazzed about DRM, but since mainstream book publishers require it on their ebook downloads, you can at least use Adobe Digital Editions to read popular modern books in ePub format.

Use Calibre to both read and create ePub files.

iBooks for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad can read ePub files. Download it through iTunes.

Mobipocket Reader was created for the original Open eBook format, and has been a good ebook reading choice for many years.

Bookworm from O’Reilly allows readers to add ePub books to their online library and read them on their web browser or e-reading device.

Stanza is a free application that you can use to read ePub ebooks on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

How to Make Your Own ePub eBooks With Calibre (Basic Instructions)

These are very basic instructions on how to create an ePub eBook using Calibre. Once you are comfortable with this process you can get more fancy.

Step 1 – Install Calibre

Download Calibre for your OS and install

Step 2 – Import a File

– Open Calibre

– Click the “Add Books” button (upper left corner)

– Find the file you want to use. You can convert almost any unsecured document, including PDF, Word, txt, and HTML.

Step 3 – Convert to ePub

– Your file should now appear in the main section of the screen. Right-click it > Convert ebooks > Convert individually

– Edit any of the metadata and other settings that you want. When you’re finished, click the OK button at the bottom.

– Calibre will process the book and create an epub file. From this point you can view your file and adjust it if necessary.

Also, Sigil: I’ve recently found a program called Sigil that can create ePub files. I haven’t used it yet but it looks powerful.

Get Free ePub eBooks

Google has a ton of free ebooks in ePub format. From what I’ve seen they are mostly classic titles that are in the public domain. You can get instructions for downloading the books from their blog.


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About The eBook Reader

I love reading and I love technology. eBooks are an interesting combination of the two.

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  1. ePub eBooks Overview « eBook Reader Software | EbookMarketWatch - November 27, 2010

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