New marketers, when finally ready to
create and offer their first product, often decide that it
should be an ebook. Whether the subject matter is for the
Internet marketing community or for a niche market, ebooks
are relatively easy to produce, distribute, and support
when compared to software, audio, and video products, and
physical shipped products. One of the more frequent
technical questions is which format to use, PDF or a
Windows executable file.
A PDF file is in Portable Document Format, which is a
format developed by Adobe. Portable, as the name implies,
means the file format can be read on more than one type of
computer. A Windows executable on the other hand is a
program with the contents of the ebook embedded directly
into the program itself.
Each format offers certain benefits, but the trend has
been towards PDF files recently. For starters, PDF can be
read on both Windows and Mac machines, while an .exe will
only run on Windows. Mac users are roughly ten percent (at
a minimum) of any market that many marketers aren't
willing to ignore.
In the past, the only way to create a PDF document was
with Adobe's Acrobat software, and it's a rather expensive
product to this day, selling for several hundred dollars.
Compare that with some excellent ebook compilers which
sell for less than $50, and you can see how marketers who
are just getting started may be tempted to save some money
with the .exe format. But it's no longer necessary to
spend hundreds of dollars for Adobe Acrobat. There are
several free and low cost alternatives that will let you
create a PDF format document.
PDF documents can be created from Microsoft Word easily.
Just get your ebook looking like you want it in Word, then
print it to the PDF "printer". An .exe file is
typically a compiled web site, which means you must set up
your information just as if it were on the web, with
multiple HTML pages, HTML coding, and so on. Now this can
be easy to do as well, with software like Frontpage or
Dreamweaver. But those take a learning curve, while even
most non-techies can figure out Word enough to create a
You also need to remember that many computer users are no
longer comfortable downloading any .exe file to their
computer. Their well-founded fears of viruses, spyware,
and adware often make them hesitant to click on any
program with an .exe extension, even from someone they
trust. Virtually all Internet marketers, and most surfers,
are familiar with the PDF format, and aren't as resistant
to a download. Don't forget support issues - you will most
likely have far more support from an .exe file due to
compatibility or system problems. A PDF document requires
only an Acrobat reader, which is a free download from
Adobe, and which many surfers already have on their
For your readers, a PDF document offers convenience in
navigation because of bookmark controls built into the
Acrobat Reader. The navigation within an .exe file is as
good as the HTML pages it displays. The PDF format is tops
in printing too, because the reader has a built-in
printing interface, while .exe files often need to be
printed page by page.
There are even software tools now that will let you easily
rebrand PDF files. In the past, this was perhaps the .exe
file's biggest advantage, but now it seems that too is
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