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File Formats

File Formats for My Picture Books

Last Updated: Friday, 09-Jan-2015 12:32:41 PST

My picture books are in about 15 different formats, depending on the graphics/book in question ( (1) photos, (2) drawings) : JPG web gallery, PNG web slideshow and ZIP Bundles, PDF, ePub, Apple iPad Optimized, Kindle Format 8, Office Presentation (PPTX and ODP), Optimized Office Presentation (PPTX and ODP), Office Vector Graphics (WMF and ODG), JPEG XR, Microsoft Powerpoint 2007, Comic Book Archive, DjVu, SVG formats, and GIF formats. File format extensions in parentheses below.

Gallery (JPG)

The Gallery format is a standard web gallery, with a collection of thumbnails, on a grid, that can be clicked on, to see an enlarged version. The pictures are in the JPG file format and the largest size is 640 x 480 pixels.

Slideshow (PNG)

The Slideshow format is a special kind of slideshow, that is entirely contained, within one web page, so that when you click back, in your browser, you go to the page just before the slideshow. You can click on the arrows, on the bottom of the web page, to go forward and backwards. The pictures are in PNG format, at 800 x 600 pixels big and the slideshow requires Javascript support, in your web browser, so this is unlikely to work in Opera Mini.

Standard/Desktop (PDF)

The Standard/Desktop format is a PDF, that can be opened, on almost any type of computer, including PCs and Apple devices, without having to install any software. When practical/useful they are in pure vector format. Vector formats are resolution independent and can be resized and zoomed in indefinitely, without losing the crisp and clear edges, while being very small, and not ever increasing, in file size.

This is because vector graphics are saved as mathematical formulas for shapes, rather than saving a certain number of little squares of various colors, at a certain resolution, in bitmap formats, like JPEG. The downside of vector formats is that they can get so complicated, when converting complex images like photos, that they would likely lock up your computing device, or else not preserve the photo details correctly.

Apple/Mobile (EPUB)

The Apple/Mobile format is an ePub file, that is designed first for the Apple iPad, but should work on most other major brands' e-readers and tablets, besides the Amazon.com ones, like the Barnes and Noble Nook and the Sony Readers. Unfortunately the Amazon.com ereaders and tablets not only have their own file formats, different from the rest of the industry, but also have such severe limitations in the size of graphics, that making a version, for Amazon devices would result in very small and poor quality graphics.

Apple iPad Optimized (EPUB)

The Apple iPad Optimized version is an ePub, that has graphics, in the SVG vector graphics format. I was only able to test it on the Apple iPad, but it also should work, on most other ereaders and tablets, besides the Amazon ones, when they support this feature. Any ePub 3 compliant reader should do fine, with this format, as well.

Kindle Fire Only Format (MOBI/KF8)

The Kindle Fire Only format (Kindle Format 8) has been advertised as being equivalent to the new HTML 5 and ePub 3 advancements that Apple, Google, Microsoft, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Adobe, and every other significant vendor has embraced. But there is more wrong with this format than it just being proprietary.

What Amazon does not want you to know is that their new format puts severe limits on the size and quality of graphics possible, that can be viewed on the Kindle Fire. This format will only work, with the latest models, after updating the firmware and after the software update is finished, these other Kindles will not be able to see any of the new improvements, from there even more restrictive formats, like the previous Amazon.com only e-book format, called Mobi 7.

When you use iBooks on an Apple iPad, you get access to almost all the HTML 5 features, of the most powerful and feature rich web browser, on any non-Desktop/Laptop computers. The Kindle does not support the PNG format at all and puts severe size limits on SVG vector graphics. Amazon.com's converter also does a very poor job of converting graphics to the GIF format and compresses JPEGs so much, that they have a visible loss of quality.

Even with this new format, even the latest Kindle Fire, is not only far behind Apple's standard of quality graphics, but the KF8 format only allows barely high enough quality graphics, for me to not not be ashamed, of the results. I have only provided this format, for those stuck with a Kindle Fire. The reason for these limitations is due, to the severe lack of processing power, available in Amazon.com's Kindle devices.

I have now have my drawings in an acceptable quality and size in the Kindle Format 8, by saving each picture individually, with custom settings (4 color - 256 color GIF). If I could use PNGs and could just have an average of 127 KB per file, rather than have no file greater than 127 KB, it would be much easier and quicker, to support the Kindle Fire.

Office Suite Presentation (ODP, PPTX)

The Office Suite Presentation format is a Zip archive bundle, that contains the two standard presentation formats, with a fallback, for more compatibility. These formats are Open Document, Office Open XML, and the more compatible, but, in no way, standardized Microsoft Powerpoint format. One of these should open fine, in each of the following: Microsoft Powerpoint, OpenOffice.org, and Apple's Keynote.

Optimized Presentation (ODP, PPTX)

This is the same as the Office Suite Presentation except that the graphics are all vector: WMF and ODG. A fallback PPT is not included.

Office Vector Graphics (ODG, WMF)

These are the vector version of the graphics in the Office Suite Presentation: Windows Meta File and Open Document Graphics.

Microsoft Advanced Photo (JPEG XR)

The JPEG XR (JXR) file format is a format designed, by Microsoft, and is now a standard variant, of the JPEG file format and can be compressed much further, while preserving the same quality, of the image. It can be viewed under Windows Vista, Windows 7, Internet Explorer 9, Windows Photo Gallery, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Photo Viewer, Corel Paint Shop Pro, Xara Designer Pro, and XNView

Microsoft Powerpoint 2007 (PPTX)

This format is similar to the Office Suite Presentation format but only in the new Microsoft Office 2007 format with the pictures embedded in the Microsoft Advanced Photo format (JPEG XR)

Comic Book Archive (CBZ)

The Comic Book Archive format is just a folder full of images, compressed into one archive file. I chose one of the most widely compatible variants - a Zip archive, containing PNG format images. There are many Comic Book Archive readers, for most any computer or device type, many of them totally free.

DjVu Format (DJVU, DJV)

The DjVu format is similar to a PDF, except that it compresses files to a much smaller size (even better than vector PDF graphics, while saving them as bitmap images). The downside is that this format is not widely available, by default, on almost any computer or device, although there are free viewers, for most computer and device types.

Vector Bundle (SVG)

The SVG format (vector graphics) took a long time to be widely used, but now it is the most common vector graphics format, since all the major browser manufacturers, including Microsoft, have adopted it, for the latest version, of the standard web page format, and has also been adopted, to be part of the standard e-book format.

Sources Bundle (PNG, GIF)

(High Quality) Sources Bundle includes the original, full size PNG formatted files, of the pictures (usually drawings), that I later converted into the other file formats. Lower Quality Sources Bundle includes all the original files, converted to GIF format (almost always drawings) to make them smaller (usually made, in the process of preparing pictures, for conversion, to Amazon Kindle Only format).

Final Options

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