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Old 01-20-2009, 05:25 AM   #1
jonathanp
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Is there a universally supported format?

Hi,

I'm working on a school project where people can upload books/documents for storage and indexing and then download either to pc or ebook reader.

What I'd like to know is, is there a standard or universal format I should use for the documents? I've read on here that epub seems to be becoming a great format but do all the readers support it? I've been the the manufacturer's websites and they claim to support lots but often I find people on the web complaining that PDFs don't reflow, or that format x doesn't display properly.

Should I be looking at ebook formats or should I just stick to A4 PDF?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-20-2009, 05:30 AM   #2
HarryT
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God no - A4 PDF is the worst possible choice for eBook readers!

HTML is probably the most "universal" format. Even those readers which don't support its display directly can easily convert it.
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Old 01-20-2009, 05:53 AM   #3
jonathanp
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PDF Format

Thanks for that Harry.

Say I needed to password protect the documents, is there a better format than PDF? I've just had another read around some forums about PDF on ebooks - some say that as long as the pdf has been created with the correct dimensions (like you can do on feedbooks) it will be alright, as long as you support lots of sizes.

Now I just need to figure out how to resize a pdf with PHP!

Thanks again.
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Old 01-20-2009, 11:09 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathanp View Post
Say I needed to password protect the documents, is there a better format than PDF?
If you have to protect against printing, then password protected MOBI or "content encrypted" MOBI are the best options. However, neither one actually protects the file against very much (since the protection can easily be defeated) and password protected PDFs can't be read on some devices.

A better option is to password protect the download web page. This isn't much security either, but it keeps out the casual moocher.

If you want to go the PDF route, then two sizes are probably enough: A4 (or US 8.5x11) and A5 (or US 5.5x8.5). Most EInk devices can handle A5 PDFs ok. I'm not sure if this will work on PDAs though.

I suggest providing a standard PDF and a DRM-free MOBI, with the latter perhaps produced by importing the PDF into Windows MobiPocket Reader. The resulting MOBI isn't always perfect, but it will be ok if the original PDF is simple enough (i.e. contains text in the standard order). Note that this is exactly what the Kindle will do with a PDF - it can only read MOBI anyway. If you have HTML or RTF, then use these instead to create the MOBI, perhaps via Windows MobiPocket Creator.

If you are automatically generating the conversions, then Calibre may be your best bet. However, its only output options are LRF and ePub (with MOBI in beta test).
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Old 01-20-2009, 11:32 AM   #5
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Hi

Can you be more specific about your project(?), like target people, contents uploaded, etc… even if generically presented?
Also are you trying to arrive to the most people or just some, and to give the most functions in your documents or not?
Per example: if you want to let your user print all or a part of the document, from the big commercial formats (PDF, Mobipocket, eReader, Microsoft, ePub and Sony) PDF is the unique option designed to let them do so.

This takes us to your main question: “Is there a universally supported format?”
The answer is: no.

So a project is always something that has many steps and to be successful must have to be laid down fully; the format(s) chosen are directly related with the objectives of the project itself, and the reason I put the questions above.
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Old 01-20-2009, 11:51 AM   #6
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Why is it we are getting a lot of topics in news and commentary that do not belong here?
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Old 01-20-2009, 08:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Why is it we are getting a lot of topics in news and commentary that do not belong here?
Cause there isn't always a better place to put them and it is first in the list.

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