Viewing eBooks

What do I need to read eBooks?

There are a variety of electronic file types used to create eBooks. Each file type is viewable by different software/devices. Some of the most common file types are:

  • PDF – (Portable Document Format) PDF files generally have a fixed layout, and are useful for documents such as magazine articles, product brochures, or flyers in which it is desirable to preserve the original graphic appearance. Adobe Acrobat Reader and Foxit Reader are two free software programs for reading and printing pdf documents.
  • ePub – (Electronic PublicationA free and open e-book standard by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). E-PUB is designed for reflowable content, meaning that the text display can be optimized for a particular display device. Most eReaders like Apple’s iBooks, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, support .epub files.
  • mobi – The Mobipocket ebook format is another open standard for eBook publishing. It was bought by Amazon. It is also cross-platform. MOBI can also display reflowable content and fixed width layout. This format is most widely used on Kindle readers and Apps. You can also use Mobipocket ebook reader software to view the .mobi files from the Resource Center.

Another possible program for organizing and viewing ebooks (in multiple formats) on your desktop computer is Calibre, a free and open source e-book library management application. It has a variety of features including:

  • Library Management
  • Syncing to e-book reader devices
  • Comprehensive e-book viewer

The links above will take you to sites where you can get more information about installing the desktop or mobile applications that will allow you to view eBook files, as well as more information about how to load the files onto different devices and use the programs.