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PDF or EXE: The Ebook Format Debate

Aug 17, 2007
Writing your own ebook is an excellent way to promote any on line business. Not only does it set you apart from you competition by making you an "expert" in the field, but it is an excellent way to attract new customers, generate affiliate income, and grow your mailing list.

However, one of the biggest decisions you will make is what format to use for your ebook. There are two common types of ebooks, a compiled ebook that runs like a computer program, or a PDF that opens using products like Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Each of the two format has pros and cons. Which one is right for you will depend what you need to achieve with your book. Let's look at each format and the benefits and drawbacks it presents.

The first format to consider is a compiled ebook. Compiled books result in EXE software programs. These are programs that run on Windows-based computer systems only. The very nature of this format excludes users that don't run Windows operating systems. This means that Macintosh and the growing number of Linux users won't be able to read your book. These users make up a minority of the computer systems, but they may include potential clients that you don't want to avoid.

Assuming that you can live without reaching this handful of users, then a compiled book offers you some tremendous benefits. Since a compiled ebook runs as a program it can offer your readers a rich interactive, even multimedia experience.

Most compiling programs require that you design your manuscript in HTML, the same language that websites use. This means, however, that you can include many of the same features that make websites interactive such as audio, video, animations, and interactive scripts.

Compiling your ebook is an excellent way to present your information if you need to present a multimedia experience for your audience. Software to compile your program can be expensive, running as much as a few hundred dollars. Also, you must have a knowledge of HTML and possibly other languages such as Javascript. If you are a web designer already then these are already available to you.

You may simply need to present your information in a simple to read format that is available to the broadest possible audience. In this case choosing the PDF format is your best bet. PDFs are widely accepted as a standardized format on all computer platforms and the software to read them is freely available to all.

Creating a PDF from your manuscript requires no special programming knowledge, just the ability to type into any word processing program. You can simply take an existing document and turn it into a finished PDF-based ebook in a matter of minutes.

Furthermore, the software to create a PDF is becoming easier to obtain. It used to be that Adobe's Acrobat product (which costs upwards of $200) was the only way to create a PDF document. Now you can find several low cost and even free alternatives.

Finally, PDF documents are platform independent, meaning that they can be read by Macintosh and Linux users as well. PDFs are an excellent choice as a way to present your information quickly and with the least amount of effort on your part.
Choosing a format for your ebook depends not only on your own technical abilities and budget, but your target audience as well. Each format offers attractive benefits but comes with its own limitations as well.
About the Author
James Pearson is the author and creator of many ebooks and the owner of the Ebook Success Secrets website. Get a complimentary copy of his latest ebook and lots of publishing success tips at href="http://ebooksuccess.onlineinformationsource.com" target="_blank">http://ebooksuccess.onlineinformationsource.com
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