E Reader Formats and DRM Digital Rights Management Publishers are very nervous about eBooks. Publishers know that when they create a print book, there are people out there who will get itfrom the library and photocopy the entire thing. However, this act is so inconvenient and timeconsuming that most people will simply buy the book if they really want it. It’s not so hard to copy and share an eBook; in fact it can be as easy as downloading from a filesharing website or drag and dropping. Because of this nervousness, not all publishers will create eBooks from their print collection andsome will only create eBooks from a portion of their print collection. Of course, some publishers work with libraries completely so it all depends on the individualpublisher. Take the Harry Potter books, for instance. For the longest time there were no legal ways to getdigital copies of these books and audiobooks. But demand got so great that JK Rowling and Scholasticdecided to create their own website to handle their books. This is a great for them as it allows forgreater control over the files. Recently they announced that library customers will be able to borrow theHarry Potter eBooks and eAudiobooks. This is great news, though how they will do it is unknown sincethe site has yet to be launched. Another example is Penguin Books, which recently decided to not allow any of their new digitalcontent to be accessible by libraries.
Even when publishers create digital content and share with us, it’s usually restricted via DigitalRights Management (DRM). This may include using a specific program to view the content, restrictingthe content to specific devices or to specific file types, or restricting access to one user. This is especially important for you to know about since customers will come to you with a widevariety of devices and it is your job to find what they want and figure out what file format to get forthem. File Formats But first, some mind numbing definitions of the various file types Overdrive uses. EBook formats .azw: Amazon.com’s proprietary format that works with the Kindle. The Kindle format can alsobe read on the Kindle App and the Kindle for PC. Overdrive calls this format Kindle Book. .epub: Electronic Publication is a free and open eBook standard, xml-based file format designedto readjust the text to fit the screen. This is the best choice for mobile devices. Overdrive calls thisformat Adobe EPUB. .pdf: Portable document format by Adobe Systems. While this format can be used on most anydevices, the text does not readjust to fit the screen. Like all pdfs, pdf eBooks are essentially pictures ofphysical pages and require much scrolling to read on a mobile screen. Overdrive calls this format AdobePDF.
Audiobook formats .mp3: Moving Picture Experts Group Layer 3, a standard file format for the compression ofmusic. Like all mp3 files, these audiobooks are compatible with a wider range of devices than otherformats. Overdrive calls this format MP3 Audiobooks. .wma: Windows media audio is an audio data compression technology developed by Microsoft.This format can only be played by devices with Windows Media Player. On the plus side though, itcreates a smaller file size than mp3s.Overdrive calls this format WMA Audiobooks. Different devices and file formats Kindle As you might have guessed from the .azw definition, Amazon has its own, special, file format foruse with its products. When getting an eBook for a Kindle owning customer, make sure that the book isin the Kindle format. You can only check out eBooks for the Kindle at this time. The Kindle fire is likeother Tablet computers and can download the Overdrive App (see below).
Nook The Nook is pretty laid back when it comes to file types as it accepts both Adobe epub andAdobe pdf. As a matter of fact, it also accepts Mp3 Audiobooks. Not bad, huh? Overdrive App (for use with iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch and Android phones) The App is also pretty laid back as it accepts Adobe epub, Adobe pdf, and Mp3 Audiobooks. What this means for you First of all, you don’t really need to memorize the definitions of these file types, even for thequiz. Just remember the name used by Overdrive and the pluses and minuses of each. Second of all, while you should remember which file type works with which devices, it’s notmandatory. In fact, with new and weird devices coming out all the time, it’s almost impossible.Fortunately, Overdrive is on your side with its Device Resource Center. In it is listed (almost) everypossible eReading and Audiobook listening device on the planet and which files, if any, work with it. Questions? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Myself or another eReader Teammembers will be with you as soon as possible.