Rainbow Books

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Illustration depicting each format by color.

The Rainbow Books are a collection of CD format specifications generally written and published by standards bodies including the ISO, IEC, and ECMA.

Red Book (1980) [edit]

  • CD-DA (Digital Audio) – standardized as IEC 60908
    • CD-Text—a 1996 extension to CD-DA
    • CD-MIDI—part of the original red-book standard
    • CD+G (plus Graphics) – karaoke

Yellow Book (1983) [edit]

  • CD-ROM (Read-Only Memory)[1][2] – standardized as ISO/IEC 10149[3] in 1988 and ECMA-130[4] in 1989
    • CD-ROM XA (eXtended Architecture) – a 1991 extension of CD-ROM

Green Book (1986) [edit]

Orange Book (1990) [edit]

Orange is a reference to the fact that red and yellow mix to orange. This correlates with the fact that CD-R and CD-RW are capable of audio ("Red") and data ("Yellow"); although other colors (other CD standards) that do not mix are capable of being burned onto the physical medium. Orange Book also introduced the standard for multisession writing.

  • CD-MO (Magneto-Optical)
  • CD-R (Recordable) alias CD-WO (Write Once) alias CD-WORM (Write Once, Read Many) – partially standardized as ECMA-394
  • CD-RW (ReWritable) alias CD-E (Eraseable) – partially standardized as ECMA-395

Beige Book (1992) [edit]

White Book (1993) [edit]

Blue Book (1995) [edit]

Scarlet Book (1999) [edit]

Scarlet color of this book is a reference to the Red Book, which defines original CDDA.

Purple Book (2000) [edit]

  • DDCD (Double Density)

See also[edit]

  • ISO 9660, a 1986 filesystem standard used in conjunction with CD-ROM formats.
  • Orange-Book-Standard, a decision named after the Compact Disc standard, issued in 2009 by the German Federal Court of Justice on the interaction between patent law and standards


  1. ^ "InfoWorld Vol. 16, No. 23". InfoWorld. June 6, 1994. p. 88. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  2. ^ "Proceedings of the 5th Annual Federal Depository Library Conference". U.S. Government Printing Office. April 15–18, 1996. p. 11. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
  3. ^ ISO (1995). "ISO/IEC 10149:1995 – Information technology – Data interchange on read-only 120 mm optical data disks (CD-ROM)". Archived from the original on 2019-01-15. Retrieved 2010-08-06.
  4. ^ "Data Interchange on Read-only 120 mm Optical Data Disks (CD-ROM)" (PDF). ECMA. June 1996. Retrieved 2023-12-31.

External links[edit]