Ebooks are gaining a larger market share every year. Ebook files are all over the place. Has it ever happened to you that you had an ebook but didn’t have the right software to open it? Here is a cheat-sheet of the most popular ebook formats and the various ways to open them.
A smaller file size alternative to PDF. You can open it either with a browser plugin or with a standalone program. There are several free programs available for this purpose at DjVu.org or here, here, and here.
This is a plain-text file. You can open it with any text editor. It is used mainly within the Gutenberg project which digitizes books in the public domain.
Created by MobiPocket which was acquired by Amazon in 2005.
The proprietary Amazon Kindle format that came out in 2007. You can open it with the Kindle Reading App.
.chm, .doc, .docx, .rtf
These are Microsoft’s help file and document formats which are sometimes also used for ebook purposes. You can open them in Wordpad, Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, or LibreOffice. You can open CHM files with Sumatra PDF for example.
Free Ebook Readers
Opens the epub, djvu, pdf, mobi, and chm formats, among others.
Opens the epub and azw formats.
Opens the epub, fb2, and chm formats, and more. It is available for Windows, Android and Ubuntu Linux users.
Okular for Linux
Opens the epub, djvu, pdf, mobi, chm, and comic book formats, and more.
Opens the epub, pdf, and Apple’s proprietary iba ebook formats. Comes bundled with iOS and is available for free for OS X.
It is noteworthy that ebooks are available both for free and for sale. In the commercial world ebook reader tablets are quite successful, with Amazon Kindle owning 55% of the global market, the Canadian Kobo coming in second at 20%, Barnes & Noble third with 10%, and Sony fourth with a 6% market share.
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