ePUB v/s Mobi: Which eBook format to use.

ePUB vs Mobi: Which eBook Format to Use?

epub vs mobi

Reading in the screen age has changed dramatically. We are no longer confined to the pages bound between the covers of printed books. In this digital age, books no longer have to be heavy or bulky. An eBook doesn’t have weight, dimensions, or any other accurate physical attributes. However, what it does have are file types and file sizes.

Ebook makers like Amazon Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble’s Nook have their standard eBook formats. If your eBook does not fit the specification standards set by these retailers, it results in your eBook getting rejected. Every eBook platform has its ereader devices, and apps display ePUB content in unique ways.

A properly formatted eBook is required to ensure the readability of the material and that it is correctly displayed on a suitable device or screen. This blog will help you understand the two significant formats for eBooks, the differences between each of these formats, and help make your eBook publishing easier.

eBook Formats

eBooks come in several formats, but they’re only a few that stand out as favorites. The most used file formats for eBooks are:

  • PDF
  • MOBI
  • ePUB

An eBook comes in many different file formats. Each of which will require a compatible reader. The right eBook reader will translate the bits of data found in the eBook file and display them as words or pictures on the screen. The result will be a virtual book page that you can read as a physical, paper book page.

Though what you see on the screen might be similar to a physical page, you’ll now have more ways of interacting with it. You can change the font style, font size, page size, backlight intensity, and so much more. With the latest eBook technologies, you can enjoy complementing media embedded into the pages, such as music, audio, and animation, for a more engaging and immersive reading experience. These interactive functionalities add a different level of enjoying your book titles that’s not possible with physical books.

What is ePUB Format?

what is epub

ePUB stands for Electronic Publication. It is a well-known open digital format for storing eBooks that anyone can use. Many Readers, including NOOK, Adobe Digital Editions, Sony reader, Google e-readers, and other e-reader devices, can open ePUB files. There are plenty of ePUB eBook readers available online for mobile and desktop users. Sadly, Kindle is not one of them. Kindle has made it a point not to include ePUB format as a valid file type for their Kindle devices. This business move protects their bottom line by forcing Kindle users to use and purchase eBooks formatted using only proprietary Kindle file types. However, there are a few ways to circumvent this problem. The most popular method is with the help of a free, open-source eBook reader to convert ePUB books to the valid Kindle file format.


epub 3

ePUB3 is the latest innovation of this eBook format standard. There are differences between ePUB3 and ePUB. ePUB3 utilizes many new interactive features provided by web standards, such as HTML5 and CSS3. One of the most critical interactive functions is the read-aloud function, wherein words on the page are read aloud. Other interactive features that enhance the reading experience include pop-up definitions of words, narrations, music and audio, and even animated illustrations.

ePUB3 is capable of using both reflowable and fixed-layouts for eBooks. The reflowable format means that elements such as text and images are no longer fixed on the page. It is an essential feature since different reading devices have different screen sizes. With the reflowable layout, no element is pushed out of the screen. Everything adjusts automatically to fit the screen display for a compelling reading experience. ePUB3 also allows media overlays and changeable parts such as adjustable file styles and size.

The Fixed-layout eBook is “fixed.” You cannot make changes to the layout. It means that you’re stuck with the font style and size. Depending on screen size, some elements such as images and words may be pushed off-screen. To view these, you must scroll or zoom in and out of the page. Even with an interactive format, if the eBook utilizes the ePUB3 standard, interactive features are still supported.

What is MOBI?

MOBI is the format developed by Mobipocket. Amazon Kindle devices are based on the Mobipocket eBook format. It can display MOBI eBooks even without conversion. MOBI supports the addition of notes, bookmarks, and even corrections. It is important to note that all MOBI files are DRM (digital rights management) protected. Self-publishing authors must understand that earlier; the Kindle app rejected ePUB eBook until converted to MOBI file. It has now started to accept ePUB eBooks to its platform.

KF8 or AZW3

The KF8 is the latest version of the MOBI-based proprietary file format. It now supports the HTML5 and CSS3 web standards. It allows for more complex book layout designs. KF8 files are also backward compatible with older Kindle readers since they are compiled with a MOBI version.

What is a PDF File?

A PDF is a popular file format that serves as an archive for digital copies of documents. PDF stands for Portable Document File, which clearly describes what it is. It is an electronic version of a document, and this particular file type lends itself well to books. You can have PDF files of a physically published book by scanning it or having the source Word document published as a PDF file. PDF is the document that is specifically made to print books.

PDF files are popular because they are lightweight archives that can be opened on desktops, laptops, or mobile devices. It would be best if you had a PDF reader installed, such as the pioneer Acrobat Reader.


epub and mobi formatting

ePUB vs. MOBI is an essential question in the author’s mind when they are thinking to self-publish their eBook. ePUB and MOBI format are the two competing, most widely used eBook standard formats in the world.

The main difference is that ePUB is an open standard developed and continuously maintained by the IDPF or the International Digital Publishing Forum. The ePUB file is among the popular eBook formats used in many Android tablets and other e-readers. In the same way, MOBI file is a proprietary technology owned by Amazon through its acquisition of Mobipocket.

MOBI files are the format on which Amazon based all of its Kindle eBook file formats. In contrast, every other eBook reader uses ePUB files. Most eBook readers can read ePUB files except for Amazon’s Kindle. Kindle makes it a point not to include ePUB in its supported file formats. Both have similar functionalities.

Their most recent versions, KF8 for MOBI and ePUB3 for ePUB, have much more improved interactive functionalities and are both able to display reflowable and fixed-layout content. Both support HTML5 and CSS3.

Is ePUB the Best Format for eBooks?

The simple answer is yes. ePUB files are better than MOBI files in the majority of the scenarios. The only advantage of using MOBI files over ePUB formats is that MOBI file is automatically protected by digital rights management (DRM). But, DRM is an optional layer in an ePUB file.

Compared to other eBook formats, the ePUB file is easy to create, edit, and use. Since it is an open standard format, it is accepted virtually by all publishers. You can easily add multimedia, like vector images, videos, illustrations to ePUB files.

What is the Best Format for an eBook?

In terms of accessibility and popularity, the three main formats are PDF, ePUB, and the Kindle MOBI formats. These three formats win over other formats any day. But it is significant to understand that no one format is the perfect answer for all needs. In terms of features, there are no clear winners since most of these different eBook formats have very similar functionalities.

The eBook format that is perfect for you depends on your scenario. Most writers start with the ePUB file since it is a universal format accepted virtually by most publishers, and virtually any device can be chosen for reading the eBook.

Related Blogs you Might be Interested in