Sometimes you don’t realize what you’re taking for granted until someone asks a question.
The question was about the way we package our files here at Closed Circle. I’m sure that Jane and CJ have answered this before, but the suggestion was made that we add a definition or two to our “Techno” topic.
For starters, we don’t encrypt or apply other DRM strategies to our books. We believe that if we make our books available at reasonable prices and in a variety of formats, then piracy–while it won’t disappear–will remain at a tolerable level. Since our files don’t employ DRM, you can always use a program like Calibre to convert, say, one of our .mobi files to the .epub format. But you don’t have to, because the three of us are dedicated to providing our readers with what they want from the git-go.
Most of our digital products are available in four “flavors:” Full, Mini, Mobi, and Epub. (There’s a drop-down menu in each product sales box from which you can choose your preferred flavor.) Our newest books will be available in: .epub, .mobi, and .pdf.
We’ve heard that Epub is supposed to be the “vanilla” flavor for ebooks. When Jane and I are prepping our products, the Epub version is the first version we create. Our Epubs tend to be our cleanest formats and they conform most closely to what we, the authors, think they should look like as they’re being read. They’re also (usually) the smallest downloads. There seem to be quite a few Epub readers/devices around, of which the Nook probably has the greatest penetration.
Of course, Amazon’s Kindle is the 800-lb gorilla of the ebook world and it doesn’t support Epub; it supports Mobi, which it owns outright. Amazon provides us with software that will take a perfect Epub files and convert it into an adequate Mobi file…or files. Because since the arrival of the Kindle Fire, Amazon’s decided that there shall be many sub-flavors of Mobi. The software we use to create a Mobi file bundles all known flavors of Mobi together and lets the device determine which flavor works best. The current version of Calibre will convert files into the simplest Mobi flavor. The Mobi files we’re now generating about three times bigger than they used to be. If you’ve got a Kindle Touch or Kindle Fire, you want to purchase our Mobi files rather than relying on Calibre to convert an Epub.
PDF is the old-standby of platform-independent text formats. They look great on desktops and laptops, but dedicated devices have problems with them…but they come closest to capturing the “feel” of a traditional printed page.
Our MINIs are zipped bundles that contain Epub, Mobi, and PDF versions of whatever book you’re buying.
We are dropping the more exotic file formats on our newest books, since we have not had a call for them in a long time. If you have Calibre on your computer, you can easily take the .epub file into whatever other format you wish. If this poses a problem for you, write to us and let us know and we will help you get what you need.