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Ebooks @ NJIT: About eBooks, eReaders, & DRM

This guide provides information about ebooks and ebook collections @ NJIT

What are Ebooks?

An ebook (short for electronic book, also written eBook or ebook) is an e-text that forms the digital media equivalent of a conventional printed book, sometimes protected with a digital rights management system. Ebooks are usually read on personal computers or smart phones, or on dedicated hardware devices known as e-book readers or e-book devices. Many mobile phones can also be used to read ebooks. [from wikipedia]


  • See "Ebook" for more information about ebook, history, timeline, formats, advantages and drawbacks, DRM, and e-Readers. [from Wikipedia]
  • See "Comparision of Ebook Formats" for more information about formats [from Wikipedia]
  • See "Comparison of Ebook Readers" for more information about devices. [from Wikipedia]

Guide to Ebook Formats

Publishers and writers  have many options when it comes to choosing a format for publication. Below is a small list of popular ebook formats academic environment is familiar with. The EPUB format is the most widely supported ebook format. Most ebook readers also support the PDF and plain text formats. Ebook software can be used to convert ebooks from one format to anther, as well as to create, edit and publish ebooks.

PDF (Portable Document Format)

A document sharing format created in the early 90s by Adobe Systems. It is based on the PostScript standards. It is best for highly formatted content and has the ability to use Digital Rights Management (DRM) such as Adobe Digital Editions.


An open ebook standard created by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). It features reflowable text, inline images and the ability to use Digital Rights Management (DRM) such as Adobe Digital Editions. The EPUB form can be read by many e-reader devices, such as, Kobo eReader, iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader and more.

MOBI (Mobipocket)

A format primarily designed for PDAs and older mobile devices. It is based on the Open Book standard using XHTML and can include JavaScript.

AZW (Kindle from Amazon)

Amazon's propietary DRM restricted format. It is based on the Mobipocket standard, with its own DRM formatting. Ebooks brought on the Kindle over its wireless system called Whispernet.

PS (PostScript)

A page description language use in electronic and desktop publishing for defining contents and layout of a printed page.

Features of Ebook Formats

[Ebook Format]

Free or Fee?

Some books are free or open access, especially if the copyright has expired.  Books copyrighted in the US before 1923 are now in the public domain; their copyrights have expired and it is legal to copy such works.

Some books must be purchased.  NJIT libraries purchase many current ebooks and make them accessible through our library portal.  These are always free to NJIT users with valid UCIDs.

DRM: Digital Rights Management

DRM stands for "Digital Rights Management". There are many types of DRM, but all are encryption methods applied to digital files to make unlawful copying or sharing difficult.


Popular eReaders that support Adobe Digital Editions (ADE):

More about eReaders


eBook Conversion

If an eBook file is in a file format that your eReader cannot use, consult "MobileRead Wiki" for further information about how to convert the orginal file into a format that is usable.

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