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The Anatomy of an eBook

January 30, 2015

What is an eBook exactly?

As I travel to genealogy and family history conferences and present Learn How to Make a Family History eBook, someone inevitably asks me the question:  So why can’t we just save our family history as a PDF? My answer: You can and you should save family histories as PDF because PDFs are an excellent choice for a digital archival format. But for reading purposes, reading a PDF on a digital device that is smaller than a large tablet like an iPad is not ideal.

The Ancestry of eBooks

eBooks that are targeted for mobile devices including smart phones, eReaders and tablets can be compared to mini websites in the way they function. eBooks are essentially HTML documents converted to eBook formats that mobile devices recognize.  Because HTML is the foundation language of eBooks, the text and graphics in an eBook flows to fit the size of the screen on which you choose to read your eBook. Software that creates eBooks takes an HTML document, or a derivative of an HTML document, and converts it to an eBook format that mobile devices and apps recognize.

The two common eBook format are ePUB and MOBI.

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