eBook sales are surging, with readers expected to touch 1.1 billion in 2027. The current user penetration of 12.8% in 2023 is set to increase to 14.1% in the next four years. With such promising data, the world of eBooks is among the most sought-after in the publishing industry.
If you are new to the world of eBooks, solutions like KITABOO can help you get started with creating and distributing professional quality eBooks. Formats are one of the most significant aspects of creating an eBook. If you feel overwhelmed with the amount of information available online, this article can help.
Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
What is an eBook?
An eBook, short for “electronic book,” is a digital book that can be read on computers, laptops, e-readers, and other devices. Any book not printed on paper can come under the umbrella term “eBooks.”
Why are eBook Formats Important?
Before determining which format is better for eBooks, let’s understand why formats are essential. The short answer is to offer the best readability experience to the user. The digital framework of different devices meant for e-reading calls for specific formats to present a clean document that is seamless to comprehend. Another primary reason is compatibility. A suitable eBook format will work well across multiple devices of different aspect ratios.
5 Top eBook Formats You Should Know About
While we help you decide which format is better for eBooks, let’s explore the details of each format, its benefits, and features.
1. ePUB (.epub)
The most popular eBook format, ePUB, is short for electronic publication and was developed in 2017 by The International Digital Publishing Forum.
- It is the most widely supported format.
- It can have a reflowable format (fits all kinds of devices) or a fixed format.
- All e-readers except Amazon Kindle devices support it.
- It works great with the Digital Rights Management (DRM) system to protect unlawful eBook distribution.
2. Interactive PDF (.pdf)
PDFs (Portable Document Format) are an eBook type that most users are familiar with.
- They are especially great for academic and marketing purposes as they allow embedded links.
- Most PDFs are compatible across all devices and browsers. However, one drawback is that they are not reflowable. Tagged PDFs that have an HTML structure solve this issue to a great extent.
- When made interactive, text fields can also be added to an eBook in PDF format to invite responses from the users.
3. MOBI (.mobi)
Developed by a French company, Mobipocket, this eBook format owes its popularity to Amazon. Amazon acquired Mobipocket when it launched Kindle.
- MOBI supports complex layouts, ideal for eBooks that need multiple columns.
- Amazon Kindle supports this format but has limited compatibility with other e-readers.
- MOBI files have a built-in dictionary, making it ideal for readers trying to learn a language through eBooks or improving their vocabulary.
- The customization options for fonts are limited.
4. AZW/AZW3 (.azw)
Amazon Kindle developed AZW/AZW3 files to replace MOBI files. They are still MOBI files but have added DRM protection.
- Although very popular, these can be opened only on the Amazon Kindle reader (device or the app on any device).
- They support complex content like bookmarks, highlights, notes, etc.
- AZW3 is the next-gen version of AZW with HTML And CSS to increase its customization options for fonts, layouts, etc.
- Despite its limitations, you can open this file format in various eBook management applications.
5. iBooks (IBA)
AZW is for Kindle, and IBA is for Apple Books. These files are created for Apple’s iBook Author (IBA) application.
- This file type can only be opened on Apple readers. But despite that, it has over 100 million monthly users.
- It is an alternative to ePUB for Apple users as it can be interactive and support video, audio, color images, etc. It offers a richer reading experience.
How to Choose the Best eBook Format?
To answer which format is better for eBooks, we need to understand the genre and the purpose of the eBook you plan to create. This can be subjective. So, how do you go about it?
Here are five tips on choosing the best eBook format for you:
- Define your target audience. Will they prefer interactive elements? Where are they based?
- Find out where you will be distributing your eBook. For example, will it get the most traffic (and thus royalties) for an online marketplace or your website?
- Does the content of your book need visual aids and support through video, audio, and graphics? Then, choose a format that supports this.
- If privacy and security of your intellectual property are important, go for eBook formats that support DRM to prevent illegal sharing and piracy.
- Get help from the experts. AI-powered digital publishing platforms like KITABOO can be the wind beneath your wings. Platforms like these can guide you and assist you in the creation of glitch-free, impressive eBooks. You can integrate these eBooks with ease and insert interactive elements.
Which Format is Better for eBooks? You've Got the Answer.
As you go through the five tips above and answer the questions, you’ll get a clearer picture of which format would be great for you. A bonus tip would be to consider your budget, especially if you are self-publishing.
Apart from the five formats mentioned in this article, there are some lesser-known ones, like LRS, LRF, FB2, DJVU, etc. These were created for specific purposes and are worth looking into. If this feels overwhelming, we recommend seeking help from experts.
You can request a free demo to learn more about eBook formats and get everything you need in one place.
Contact our expert team now and get started!
To know more, please write to us at KITABOO@hurix.com.
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