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New eBook formats are better for corporate training

Many electronic reading materials are still in the PDF format, and while that works well for users reading on a computer, it falls short on mobile devices. In order to allow a company's eLearning suite to be useful to the largest slice of its employees transitioning to a modern eBook format is vital.

The very first eBooks, in the early days of computing, were simply long continuous streams of text with no chapter breaks or any real formatting. They did the job of providing access to the content, but they were not user-friendly and were inferior to hard-copy books in most respects. Eventually those long blocks of text gave way to the PDF format and everything changed. PDFs allowed the actual page of a book to be recreated in a digital form, complete with headers and footers, page numbers, chapter breaks and other formatting features not previously available.

But then came the age of mobile devices like e-readers and tablets, with the advent of these technologies came new formats for eBooks. Formats such as EPUB, MOBI and AZW that truly take advantage of the new types of devices and allow for books to come alive in the digital world. Modern eBooks are now created through HTML5 platforms that are flexible, easily edited and easy to use.

Many electronic reading materials, especially corporate training information, is still in the PDF format, and while that works well for users reading on a traditional computer, it often falls short on mobile devices. In order to really allow a company's eLearning suite to be useful to the largest slice of its employees on the devices they use, transitioning to a modern eBook format is vital.

"eBooks are chameleons - they adjust themselves to whatever device they are currently displayed on."

eBooks adjust
According to Invisible Order, true eBooks are chameleons - they adjust themselves to whatever device they are currently displayed on. eBooks created with one of the new formats can be read on a browser, a tablet, a smartphone or an e-reader device without difficulty. The text will reflow to fill whatever screen size and type it is being displayed on. The text can also be manipulated by the user. The reader can change the size, color and font to aid in readability. 

This flexibility provides a huge advantage over the old-style PDF files. Those files are static and meant to display one page that simulates a book at a time. If they are zoomed to aid in reading then they often no longer fit on the screen, especially on devices like e-readers and tablets. For a company that wants its employees to be able to read materials at their own convenience, PDFs present a problem as they are ill suited to use on smaller more mobile devices.

eBooks travel
OverDrive reported that eBook formats provide another distinct advantage to readers, especially ones {who}that may be reading in small sections as they have time available to them. On most modern eBook formats progress in reading is automatically saved and uploaded to the cloud or to the browser. That means that a reader could go from looking at material on their desktop to their tablet to their smartphone and when the book is brought up on each device it will be waiting where the user left off. This is especially useful for corporate training materials which might be read intermittently and on different devices as workers have time throughout their day.

PDFs provide no such travelability. They always open to the first page, and a reader then has to scroll through the text to find the place they left off. They also often don't display well on smaller devices meaning that getting a few minutes of reading in on a smartphone while commuting is not an option.

eBooks are changeable
Corporate policies and training information are always changing and updating, and making changes to training materials can be a headache. This is another advantage that the modern eBook formats can provide. Because they are not fixed files, eBook formats are able to be adjusted and changed easily. A small edit can be made and saved back into the file without much disruption to the entire format. In the case of a PDF, which is just a static image, an entire page must be deleted and recreated to change even one word or graphic.

The eBook world has changed greatly since the advent of e-reader devices and tablets. The devices brought new and interesting ways for authors and other providers to bring information to their readers. Leveraging these new formats can increase the efficacy of corporate training and other types of eLearning. 

Corporate Learning & Performance
Digital Content Development

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