Frequently Asked Questions

Books

  • Which eBook format do I need?
    • The .epub format works for most e-readers, such as Android, iPhone, iPad, Nook, Sony, Adobe Digital Editions, desktop and laptop computers, among others. But not Kindles! Kindles use either the .azw3 or .mobi format.
  • What’s the difference between the .awz3 and .mobi formats?
    • The .azw3 and .mobi are Amazon’s proprietary formats for Kindles. The .azw3 is a big improvement over the .mobi, and Kindles can finally benefit from the intended formatting and fonts. Amazon, however, does not (yet?) support the .azw3 in the Kindle Personal Documents Service, so reportedly manual (usb) uploading to the Kindle device is still necessary. The .mobi format will continue to be made available until Amazon fully supports the .azw3.
  • What are the disadvantages of the .pdf format?
    • The .pdf format is the old standard and should be supported by all devices. The primary disadvantage of .pdfs relative to .epub, .azw3 and .mobi is you cannot enlarge the font size without the text overflowing off the edge of the screen. Additionally, with the large eBooks, your device might freeze or struggle scroll the .pdf, because it’s not split into smaller pieces internally as with the more modern eBook formats.
  • I want to read the eBooks on my desktop or laptop computer. So which format should I get?
    • Epub. First of all, the .epubs have the intended fonts and formatting because of strengths in the .epub format itself, and because these eBooks are created originally as .epubs. The .mobis are, frankly, push-button conversions using Calibre. It’s a credit to Calibre that they come out looking as well as they do. Secondly, the Kindle-for-PC app for computers is crippled somehow and won’t render Pali diacriticals even though the actual Kindle device will. Thirdly, the .epub is a free, open-source format, i.e. in the public domain, whereas .mobi is a proprietary format owned by Amazon.
  • Is there any free software so I can read eBooks on my computer?
    • There are a number free reader apps. Purely for reading .epubs AdobeDigitalEditions has a slick interface. Calibre is a more comprehensive option which allows for converting to other formats. There are also a Sony Reader app and a Nook-for-PC app. These might be of interest if you also have one of those devices for purposes of syncing. Kindle-for-PC reads .mobis but is not recommended. Accesstoinsight.org has a nice help page regarding this subject as well as recommended apps for Android, iPhone, etc. If your computer doesnʼt read pdfs you can download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. Or you may wish to download a less bloaty pdf reader like Sumatra from download.com.
  • How can I get paperback versions of these books?
    • Please see the book request list for instructions. Please do not contact the website administrator via email to request books. Such requests will be disregarded.
  • I’m having trouble downloading .mobi files.
    • Case 1: Instead of downloading the .mobi file, the Safari browser tries to open it as web page. Answer: I was able to download the files on Safari by clicking on them while holding down the "option" button. Using Firefox instead of Safari also takes care of the problem. Based on a little research I did, it seems like the mobi as HTML problem on Safari is nothing new. Case 2: The .mobi downloads as a .txt file using a Samsung Galaxy tablet running Android 4.2.2. Answer: I noticed the url contained the .mobi extension, but when I download it, it gets changed to a .txt extension. Manually renaming the file from filename.txt to filename.mobi fixes the problem, and it opens up in Kindle just fine.