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Filename extension fb2,
Developed by Dmitry Gribov
Initial release 2004
Latest release 2.21  / 16 January 2008
Type of format e-book file format
Extended from XML
Extended to fb3

FictionBook is an open XML-based e-book format, which originated and gained popularity in Russia. The FictionBook files have the .fb2 filename extension.

The FictionBook format does not specify the appearance of a document; instead, it describes its structure. For example, there are special tags for epigraphs, verses and quotations. All the ebook metadata, such as the author name, title, and publisher, is also present in the ebook file. Hence the format is convenient for automatic processing, indexing, and ebook collection management. This also allows automatic conversion into other formats.

Features of FictionBook[edit]

  • Free and open format with multiple hardware and software implementations
  • DRM-free
  • Supports reflow by design
  • Simple semantic markup
  • Optimized for narrative literature
  • Embeds metadata, proposes its own scheme for genre description
  • Supports Unicode
  • Documents may contain:
    • Structured text organized in nested sections (optionally titled)
    • Subtitles (which do not appear in the table of contents)
    • Epigraphs
    • Poetry
    • Quotations
    • References and footnotes
    • Tables (but not all readers support them)
    • Raster images (PNG or JPEG)
  • Inline formatting:
    • Strong (usually bold)
    • Emphasized (usually slanted or italic)
    • Strikethrough
    • Superscript
    • Subscript
    • Program code (usually in monospace font)

Differences from other ebook formats[edit]

In contrast to other eBook formats (e.g. ePub), FictionBook eBook consists of just one XML file. Images are converted to Base64 and reside inside the <binary> tag, so the size of the embedded images is increased by approximately 37%. Often FictionBook files are distributed inside Zip archives, and most of hardware and software readers can work with compressed FictionBook files (* directly. The metadata and the plain text data are always placed in the beginning of the FictionBook file, while more heavyweight binary images are placed in the end. This allows software to start rendering or processing FictionBook before the file is available entirely.

FictionBook is the format of choice of some of the community-driven online electronic libraries. It does not allow for Digital Rights Management of any kind.

Software and hardware support[edit]

It is supported by e-book readers such as FBReader, AlReader, Haali Reader, STDU Viewer, CoolReader, Okular, Documents for iOS, and some others. Many hardware vendors support FictionBook in their firmwares: BeBook One, BeBook Mini and BeBook Club in Europe (and other Hanlin V3 and V5 based devices), all PocketBook Readers, COOL-ER devices, Cybook Opus and Cybook Gen3, and ASUS Eee Reader DR900. Devices based on the Hanvon N516 design can read FictionBook if custom OpenInkpot firmware is installed; it is factory default for Azbooka 516. Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook, and Sony devices do not support FictionBook directly. However, a GNU GPL cross-platform ebook manager called Calibre allows conversion of .fb2 books into formats suitable for any e-reader.[1]


See also[edit]