When you download one of our books, it might have a title like
Take Control of Zoom (1.1) or it might look like
TCoZoom-1.1. (In both cases, there will be extensions afterward, like
.epub, but whether you see these depends on your device, operating system, and settings.) Sometimes you might have books on your device with both types of names, and that can be confusing (as well as making it harder to sort your files and see which versions you have).
So, why aren’t our filenames always the same?
Consider a book like Take Control of Zoom. That’s the book’s title, and we think it’s helpful to put the version number right in the filename, so the name we want to use for it is the first example—
Take Control of Zoom (1.1). The problem with that is, downloadable files on our website can’t have spaces in their names—that screws up all kinds of things. We can’t have the “pretty” names we prefer. So, many years ago (long before I started running Take Control), the decision was made to remove the spaces, turn “Take Control of” into “TCo” (for compactness), and put the version number at the end following a hyphen, rather than in parentheses. That’s how we end up with things like
But wait! You may very well have a file with the “pretty” name on your computer. How did that happen? Well, we offer our PDFs in two forms: regular and zipped. The regular, raw PDFs will have filenames like
TCoZoom-1.1.pdf. But when we zip them, we start with the original file that has the nice-looking name, and then we give the awkward name to the Zip file, so it’ll look like
TCoZoom-1.1-pdf.zip. But once you download that and unzip it—your browser might even do this automatically for you—you get the file with the nice, original name.
So, for PDFs, you can get the file with either the full name or the abbreviated name, depending on whether you download the zipped version. Then…why can’t we do the same for EPUB and Mobi formats?
Ah. That’s where it gets tricky. Macs and PCs have no trouble unzipping downloaded files, but depending on your mobile operating system and version, you might need a third-party app to unzip a file on your phone or tablet. (And even if you don’t need a separate app, it could be an irritating and non-obvious extra step.) What we want is for people to be able to download an EPUB or Mobi to the Files app and then open it immediately in the Books or Kindle app, without having to figure out how to uncompress it first. And that’s why we don’t offer zipped versions of the EPUB or Mobi files.
So, our EPUBs and Mobis always have the “ugly” names, and the PDFs sometimes do.
Now: your follow-up questions are inevitably:
Why don’t you at least offer the option of zipped EPUBs and Mobis with the nice names? We could do that. But then having to explain why we have six different files you can download, what the implications of each one are, and how to decide which one you want, becomes extremely complicated—especially for busy people with no interest in tech minutiae.
Why don’t you put all the files together in a single Zip file, so that you get the nice names when you unzip it? We could do that too. But we’d still have to offer separate EPUBs and Mobis for those who need them, and a lot of people have bandwidth and storage constraints that make downloading stuff they don’t need an unpleasant prospect.
Why don’t you just give up on the “nice” names and, in the name of consistency, use the “ugly” names everywhere? We could do that as well. But then we’d get complaints from people who are used to the PDFs with the nice names, and we’d lose our one opportunity to give the files what we think of as their proper, canonical names.
If we had it to do all over again, I think we’d adopt a different convention: we’d give our files “proper” names but just use hyphens instead of spaces or parentheses:
Take-Control-of-Zoom-1.1.pdf. At this point, however, switching to that type of naming would be certain to infuriate people with dozens or even hundreds of our books collected over the years, because the new names wouldn’t match either of the old patterns.
We’re very sorry this situation exists, but we don’t currently have a solution that will make everyone happy.