The ePublishing Era Is Here
One of today's greatest benefits of the Internet is the ability to get information out quickly to a wide audience. Before the days of eBooks, if you were an author with a desire to publish your writing, you would need to submit a formal offer, find funding and eventually get signed on by a publisher who would help you get your book to market.
Thanks to electronic publishing technology, book lovers got a wide variety of portable devices they can choose from to be able to read electronic books. eReading devices such as the Amazon Kindle, Nook by Barnes and Noble, Sony eReaders or Apple iPad have made it possible to not only purchase, but also find and enjoy free eBooks in different formats that are available for ultimate searchers online to instant download.
What is ePub?
ePub is a standard eBook format recommended by The International Digital Publishing Forum. Contrary to Amazon's Kindle eBook format the EPUB is a free and open format standard which allows every publisher to produce and send a single digital publication file through distribution and offers consumers interoperability between software/hardware for unencrypted reflowable digital books and other publications.
ePub format is a standardized format that almost every exisitng hardware and software eReaders understand. Amazon Kindle devices, however, doesn't support text coded in .ePub. Thus, without using some third-side converting software that converts ePub books into a format the Kindle can read (.mobi, .azw, .azv1, .pdf. .txt and the latest - .kf8). While there are a few other competing formats, ePub is steadily going to become de facto the most popular standard for eBooks. Even some big publishers, like Sony, have accepted it even for their DRM-protected books.
It is very important to say that the many free eBooks in ePub format are made using an OCR (optical character recognition) system and aren't edited afterwards often enough. While the OCR software has greatly improved over the last years, you often can find few mistakes or in some free books that were published without editing. The PDF versions of these books however don't have this problem, as they are just copies of the actual paper pages. However, PDF books are far larger and don't allow the reader to adjust the size of the fonts according to the size of an eReader.
How to make an eBook in .ePub format?
In fact, an ePub file consists of several XHTML packaging and container files (those last ones mainly due to optional DRM - digital rights management) which are zipped into one result file. To make simple ePubs just get an editor that support the ePub format, f.e. Sigil, a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) ebook maker that is available for free as a Google Code project.