What is the Kindle Fire Book Format

eBook readers and their formats: Everything you need to know about eBooks

Image: eBooks are now an integral part of the book market in Germany as well. Around a quarter of Germans reads eBooks - whether on eBook readers, tablets or smartphones. Photo: Fotolia

eBooks have also been established in Germany for a number of years. According to a recent study, however, only around a quarter of all Germans read eBooks on a wide variety of devices - iPad, tablet, eBook reader, smartphone, etc. There are still many readers who do not dare to read digitally. About a quarter of all readers are eBooks too complicated. We have taken this as an opportunity to summarize the most important points about the eBook, the formats and eBook readers. So - don't be afraid of complicated technology, here we explain everything you need to know about the subject!

Of course, it's comfortable to sit on the sofa with a nice book and a cup of tea or coffee, in your favorite armchair or in bed - the smell of paper, the rustling when the pages are turned, the haptic experience, we all know the advantages of Reading experience with a printed book. But even real bookworms and book fans have recognized the good points of eBooks and eBook readers: no more heavy lugging on the go and when traveling - some readers weigh less than 200 grams, no matter how many thick books are stored -, thousands of books always with you the arms don't lame quite as quickly when reading as they would with a thick printed book.

In general, more and more reading fans are recognizing these advantages, because the use of eBook readers is increasing, even if the growth dynamics in the eBook sector - as Bitkom has reported - has slowed just like in the US book market. Despite this stagnating growth, according to Bitkom, more and more electronic books are being read on smartphones and tablets - which is probably also due to the fact that the use of mobile devices in general continues to increase. But what exactly are e-books, what do you need for an e-book reader and what do I have to consider when writing an e-book? We have answers to the following questions:

  1. eBook - What is it?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of reading with eBooks?
  3. How are the e-book market and pricing developing?
  4. What are the relevant eBook formats at the moment?
  5. How does copy protection work for eBooks?
  6. Which eBook reader is the right one?
  7. What do I have to consider with my eBook?

1 eBook - What is it?

An electronic book (= electronic book = eBook) - what is it actually? eBooks offer much more than just the digital text version of a printed book. An eBook is a file that adapts to the respective reader on which it is accessed. Whether on the smartphone display, the tablet, in an app on the stationary computer or on an eBook reader: the text adapts to the screen. The font and size can be set individually, all chapters can be selected directly via the table of contents and it is even possible to insert links and text references. Depending on the reader, bookmarks can also be set, text passages searched for, marked and noted, words looked up and translated and much more. If you dare to do it, you can try out a lot and design your own reading experience individually.

2 What are the advantages and disadvantages of reading with eBooks / ebook readers?

Sure, eBook readers are light and store an incredible number of books - most readers are aware of this. However, the readers can do a lot more (of course, depending on the price and equipment):

Image: e-book or printed book? We recommend: Publish your book in all formats and let the reader decide for themselves. Photo: Fotolia

  • the layout (font and size, etc.) can be customized
  • Readers can set bookmarks in the eBook
  • eBooks can be purchased directly from integrated shops on the ebook readers
  • the backlight can be adjusted
  • Some eBook readers allow the remaining reading time to be displayed (the time that is still required to read the chapter / book to the end is calculated from the previous reading speed)
  • Markings and notes are possible as additional functions
  • a dictionary function is included
  • Translation options can be called up directly while reading
  • Readers can create individual libraries in their readers
  • the intelligent hyphenation is adjustable
  • there is no waste of paper

… and and and. But there are also some disadvantages that the eBook has compared to the printed book:

  • eBook is software (with the eBook you don't get the book, but only the right to use the eBook)
  • eBooks are taxed as software at 19 percent, not like books at 7 percent (even if the federal government confirmed in 2016 that it would campaign for a reduced tax rate for e-books at European level, and a change is being planned here).
  • There are different formats (not all eBooks can be read on all readers)
  • the battery must be charged (even if it has been running for a long time)
  • the reading experience is unusual for some

In addition to these advantages and disadvantages, eBooks are now potentially much more than “just” books. Additional media such as film elements can also be integrated on new eBook readers. eBooks are therefore also interactive and even less comparable to printed books.

3 How are the e-book market and pricing developing?

Image: How is the eBook market developing? And what about the prices of eBooks and eBook readers? Photo: Fotolia

Even if the sales figures on the market no longer grow exponentially, more eBooks are sold from year to year. In 2015 the share was 4.5 percent, and in 2016 it was estimated at around 5.2 percent. A little more than 30 percent of non-users of eBooks can at least imagine reading eBooks in the future. Since young people in particular grow up with eBooks - almost 40 percent of 14 to 29 year olds already read eBooks - it can be assumed that their use will continue to increase.

An aspect of this development on the book market that should not be neglected is that the prices of e-books tend to fall. This is mainly explained by the fact that more and more eBooks are published, but buyers are not spending more money. A larger number of eBooks therefore has to compete harder and harder for the rather low eBook sales. On average, eBooks are therefore 20% cheaper than printed books. The consequence for you as an author - eBooks unfortunately sell based on price, but the proceeds per piece sold decrease. Flat rate models also contribute to this development. So don't make your eBook too expensive if it is to survive on the market.

4 Which relevant eBook formats are currently available?

But how do you actually read the eBook? Unfortunately, there are still different formats for the various devices, and no format can be read on all end devices. However, some formats are widespread and widely used. We therefore present the most important ones below:


The epub format is the most common eBook format supported by many eBook readers (e.g. Tolino Shine, Kobo and Sony). However, it cannot be read on the Amazon Kindle devices. Outside of the Amazon world, however, it is the most widely used format.

Amazon Kindle / .AZW

The formats from Amazon, which can be read on Kindle devices, are also frequently used. These are .AZW, .AZW3 and KF8. KF8 is the newest format to run on the Amazon Kindle Fire devices, while .AZW and .AZW3 are supported on the traditional Kindle devices. However, the Kindle formats cannot be read on any other eBook reader.

Image: Which eBook formats are currently on the market? Photo: Fotolia


The current Kindle formats mentioned above are based on the MOBI format. This is no longer used as much as the newer Kindle formats are now mainly used.


.PRC is also a file format used on Kindle devices. It is very similar to the MOBI format or is based largely on the .PRC format. However, this is also not as widespread as .AZW and epub.


Many eBook readers can view PDFs. However, these do not correspond to the classic eBook, which adapts to the reading devices. A PDF is a document with a fixed layout that can be zoomed in when reading on the device and navigated on the screen if necessary. The so-called "Fixed Layout" is such an eBook variant: This is preferred for very complex layouts that contain many figures and tables. However, it is unfortunately only available from a few shops, the most important here are Apple and Amazon.

In addition to the above, there are a few other formats that are only used by certain manufacturers. Most of them, however, have either already been reinstated or are hardly (still) used.

5 How does copy protection work for eBooks?

Many providers use copy protection so that eBooks cannot simply be redistributed free of charge. DRM (= Digital Rights Management = digital rights processing) is the common name for this protection. Two types of DRM are widely used: the hardness and the soft Copy protection.

Image: What is the significance of copy protection in the eBook? Photo: Fotolia

The hard copy protection does not prevent the eBook from being copied, but rather reading it on another device. Here, too, Amazon has special protection, which is why it is not possible to offer Kindle eBooks in other shops and read them on other devices. Many of the other shops such as Thalia, Weltbild, Kobo etc. rely on Adobe's hard copy protection. Although instructions on how to remove the copy protection can be found on the Internet again and again, it is not advisable to remove the copy protection. In order to protect the author of the book, this is not allowed under the copyright law.

The soft copy protection consists of a watermark that is (usually not visible) integrated into the eBook. If someone passes the eBook on or if it is offered in a shop, it is possible to understand who made the eBook available. Since there are no standards for soft copy protection, it is less easy to remove than hard copy protection and is therefore a sensible alternative. According to allesebook.de, the hard copy protection is also declining for this reason; More and more shops are using the soft copy protection.

6 Which eBook reader is the right one?

But when you are faced with the decision: which eBook reader should you get? There are of course different recommendations depending on preference, price and setting. We would like to briefly introduce two of the most popular device series here, as around 85 percent of all users of eBook readers prefer one of these readers: the Amazon Kindle and the Tolino.

The Kindle devices come from Amazon, the Tolino readers belong to the alliance of Thalia, Hugendubel, Osiander, Mayersche, etc. There are many different versions: From the classic Kindle reader with a few functions to the Kindle Oasis, which not only automatically adjusts its brightness to the ambient light, but is also particularly light and has a sharp, perfectly balanced image.

Image: Read your eBook on your personal preferred eBook reader or alternative reading device. Photo: Fotolia

The Tolino Alliance also has devices for different requirements and budgets on offer: the Tolino eBook reader is already available for 69 euros, the latest version, the Tolino Vision 4 HD, for 179 euros. Here, too, the features range from dictionary and translation functions to brightness sensors and water resistance. In various eBook reader tests, Kindle and Tolino are always in the lead. Which reader you ultimately choose does not only depend on the features and budget, but also a question of sympathy as to which shop you would prefer to support. If you can't decide to buy an eBook reader, you don't need to worry either: Simply download a free software or app and read the eBook on your smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC.

7 What do I have to consider with my eBook?

No matter which device you choose - we at tredition offer potential readers all common formats to choose from. You can of course obtain our eBooks from the shops of the Thalia Alliance as well as from Amazon. And of course the eBooks are also available from Apple. But what do you as an author have to consider when creating a book? Basically not much:

  • It is important that you use automatic hyphenation in book typesetting, not manual. Manual hyphens are not automatically removed during conversion.
  • If possible, avoid using an overly complex layout. With many tables, graphics and footnotes it is only possible to create the eBook as a fixed layout. However, this format is not suitable for making optimal use of our sales structures.

Otherwise, you can simply upload your manuscript to us - and we will create hardcover, paperback and eBook from one file!

We advise you not to publish your book as an eBook alone. You will miss out on a large number of sales opportunities for your book! Read more about the background and the share of eBooks in the book market here. We look forward to your book project!