The most popular ebook formats used on the Internet are the Portable Document Format, better known as PDF, and the Hypertext Markup Language, better known as HTML.
Although both formats are highly popular, you must look at the entire picture prior to making your decision, as there are pros and cons associated with each format.
Portable Document Format (PDF)
Adobe® Portable Document Format (PDF) is a universal format that will preserve all of your original formatting. Not only will it maintain your specified layout, but it will also preserve your fonts, images and links -- regardless of what application was used to create it. This will enable your ebook to look exactly as you had intended.
PDF files are very compact in size and are actually smaller than their original source files. They can be easily published and distributed in a number of ways:
o In print
o Email attachments
o Internet download
o Web sites
o Anyone, anywhere can open your document regardless of what browser they're using or what operating system.
o PDF is the preferred format of most publishing sites.
o PDF always prints correctly with any printing device.
In addition to the above advantages, using the Adobe Acrobat 5.0 software, documents can be viewed across multiple media. For example, tagged PDF preserves a document's structure so that it can be viewed on Palm OS® devices as well as on the web. Tagged PDF files also contain information in regard to the content and structure, which makes them accessible to visually impaired readers -- with the assistance of screen readers.
o A bit limiting on creativity.
o Software is rather expensive at $249.00.
o Users must have the free Acrobat Reader installed on their computer.
Adobe Acrobat 5.0 (Highly Recommended)
This powerful program provides Internet users with the ability to create and distribute ebooks that are viewable by everyone, regardless of what browser or operating system. Your documents will be beautifully preserved in their original layout and will appear exactly as you had intended. With the release of Acrobat 5.0, users not only have increased document security, but they also have the ability to create documents that can be easily viewed by the visually impaired and on Palm OS® devices. In addition, Acrobat compliments Microsoft Word, as it adds a toolbar shortcut directly to the program. Simply open your document in Microsoft Word, click on the Acrobat button, and your Word document will be automatically converted into a PDF document for distribution.
Easy PDF (Recommended)
Easy PDF is an inexpensive alternative to the Adobe Acrobat software. It will enable you to quickly and easily create Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) documents. It is a true WYSIWYG editor with full drag and drop support. It includes an image editor for optimizing your images, supports hypertext and bookmarks and even includes a spell checker and document security.
Documents formatted in PDF, can not only be downloaded via a link, but they can also be viewed directly from your website, without being downloaded. They are very easily distributed and will enable you to easily deliver your ebook.
In part 3 of this series, we will continue with HTML compiled ebooks.