On what devices does a PDF NOT work?

curiouswebster
curiouswebster used Ask the Experts™
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I plan to release a book on PDF, at first. That's before I think about a printed version and before I invest in any particular platform.

1) On what devices will PDF not functionally work?
2) On what devices will PDF not work in practical terms?

I am most interested in making it available on many platforms, then I will be interested in offering it in the preferred technologies for certain platforms.

I would later consider a tool like Xamarin for cross-platform development. I will avoid native apps...

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ste5anSenior Developer
Commented:
1) None. Cause it is a text-based format which can be interpreted on all platforms.
2) There are some, where no readers are available as ready to download application.
3) I would consider using EPUB for releasing a book, cause it is imho still the most used format for this use-case. Followed by PDF.

But the question is: How do you define your audience? Cause this should be the key factor for such a decision.

And: What does Xamarin in your publication strategy?
curiouswebsterSoftware Engineer

Author

Commented:
Oh, sorry. I am considering making an app, which has nothing to do with the PDF question. I got them mixed up but should not have mentioned it on this question.

For EPUB, is that a better user experience on an iPhone or Android than a PDF? Does EPUB require me to program the solution, like it's a website running on the phone?

How about Kindle, Nook and Kobo? Does PDF work there too?
4D Assets
Commented:
Hi, Newbie. The file formats you mention (PDF and EPUB) are dependent upon reader apps available to interpret the information. But there is more than one flavor of PDF. There are the PDFs you can generate using Word or any other app (Adobe released the Portable Document Format as an open standard in 2008), and then there are PDF/A (archive), PDF/X and PDF/E (prepress quality). You'll need Adobe Acrobat Pro to properly secure your book. Alternatively Adobe Digital Editions allows you an extra measure of digital rights management (DRM).

Using PDF, you not only control content, but page layout. Which means that a reader viewing your book on their phone will see the same layout as someone viewing it on a tablet, laptop, or desktop screen. They'll have to finger navigate all around every page. Not a good time.

EPUB, on the other hand, is dynamic. All you control is the content, the line length, font size, and overall format is controlled by the reader app, which is controlled by the definition for the device screen. Images appear inline, above and below text, but never side-by-side unless the screen size allows it.

All of which brings me to what should be the first question: what kind of book is this? If it is all text, I'd use EPUB. If there are illustrations, photos, diagrams, etc. that is related to particular text, or if it's a children's book with illustrations behind text, you'll want to use PDF (don't forget to secure your document).

You can use a free app like https://calibre-ebook.com/ to convert Word docs to EPUB, even design your own cover and insert metadata.

Before you choose, I'd suggest going to Kindle, Kobo, CreateSpace, Lulu, Smashwords, and other potential eBook and print book publishers to find out which formats they can work with when you're ready to take it to the next level.
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curiouswebsterSoftware Engineer

Author

Commented:
Thanks.
curiouswebsterSoftware Engineer

Author

Commented:
thanks
Colleen Kayter4D Assets

Commented:
You're welcome. Glad to help.

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