The shift from ink and paper to the digital realm is simultaneously taking place on at least seven major platforms and tons of electronic devices created and promoted by developers like Amazon, Apple, Google and Sony. I suggest taking a look at Calibre in order to get an overview of the current status of e-book reading and publishing.
The site explains, “Calibre is a free and open source e-book library management application developed by users of e-books for users of e-books” …but, it is a lot more than a cataloging tool, in that it will also convert your e-books into whatever format you require, then connect and upload them to your specific e-reader.
Listed among the top e-book source formats are some familiar and perhaps some new file types that include: LIT, MOBI, EPUB, HTML, PRC, RTF, PDB, TXT and PDF. Calibre output formats include: EPUB, FB2, OEB, LIT, LRF, MOBI, PDB, PML, RB, PDF, TCR, TXT and PRC. Are you overwhelmed yet?
Amazon provides the Digital Text Platform for authors wishing to publish e-books for their Kindle wireless reading device. Learn all about using it in the DTP Forum. Amazon DTP supports several document formats for uploading and conversion (HTML, Microsoft Word (.doc), plain text (.txt) and Adobe PDF). Amazon DTP also fully supports eBooks created in the .mobi format if they are unencrypted. You can use Calibre or the free MobiPocket Creator and upload the resulting mobi file.
While some people think the Kindle spells the beginning of the end for publishers, and some authors are happy about being able to sidestep the middlemen by publishing directly on Kindle, readers are generally delighted at all of the convenient features the Kindle provides.
One of my most recent goals has been to develop a mixed-media publication that combines text and video. Adobe’s Acrobat 9 Pro now supports embedding videos into PDFs. I am creating my first experimental documents merging animated cartoons made in Xtranormal… to be included in a CD. The videos will be set to autorun when you open the page that they reside on. The mpeg4 videos, scaled down to hand-held device size (480 x 360), are the smallest file size and universally compatible with mac, unix, beos and windows.