One of the best things about eBooks is the flexibility that they offer both authors and readers. Depending on which publishing format you choose for your next publication, you can target specific markets and provide a variety of accessibility options.
"However, with so many eBook options available, it can be difficult to decide which format will meet your needs."
Here is a rundown of the three most popular eBook formats:
ePub is the standard format of the International Digital Publishing Forum and is both an open-source file format and an end user format (International Digital Publishing Forum). ePub files can be read on a variety of digital devices including laptops, computers, and eReaders. The biggest pro of choosing ePub for your eBook is that it is reflowable. Reflowable means that the file will adapt to the device you are using. The biggest con to ePub is that you need to understand coding languages (XML and XHTML) to create a valid file.
.pdf was designed by Adobe to act as a cross-platform file format, so it is no surprise it has become a dominant eBook file format. .pdf files can be read on a variety of devices on all operating systems. The biggest pro of using a .pdf as your eBook format is that they are easy to create and you have more control over the font and the format. You can also convert other files and scan items into a .pdf eBook. The downside is that .pdfs are not reflowable and conversion into web format is very difficult (Digital Book World).
AZW is the exclusive format for Amazon Kindle. The biggest benefit of using AZW is the access to the massive Amazon Kindle market. If you want to publish on Amazon and use another format you will have to convert the file before publishing (Amazon). The biggest downside of AZW is that it is designed specifically for Amazon Kindle, so it will not easily transfer to other publishing platforms.
How to decide what is best for your publication
When evaluating which eBook publishing format to choose, you really need to decide on which market you will offer your work. If you are going to feature your eBook on your website, it’s best to go with a .pdf. If you are looking to offer your eBook in the broader market you should choose ePub or AZW.
Next, you will want to think about what type of content you are offering. If it is a technical manual you may want to go with something portable like an ePUB or .pdf but if it is a novel, you may want to stick to AZW. Finally, you should consult with ALHAUS. We are experts on taking your copy to print, so we can help you make sure that you pick the right eBook format for your digital publishing needs.