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6 best eBook formats with their differences

People were least concerned about eBook formats, when the trend of digitization was at its infancy stage. However, new eBook formats got introduced in the market due to the increased readership of digital versions. Both authors as well as readers now have more than enough options from which they can choose the ideal one for them but it can be a bit confusing.

types of ebook formats
eBook file extensions


If you approach a professional digital conversion company offering eBook conversion services, they will advise you regarding the best format based on your needs and budget. However, before outsourcing your requirements to an eBook conversion company, understanding key differences between different electronic book formats is vital. Let us see how EPUB, MOBI, AZW, PDF, ODF and LIT differs from each another.

  1. EPUB

  2. Supported on almost all digital platforms, EPUB is a widely accepted format that every company recommends without any hesitation. The files in .epub are supported by around 300 E-Readers including Barnes and Noble’s Nook, Apple’s iBook and Adobe Digital Editions etc. EPUB is completely free but to use it, certain harmless rules are to be followed. It is capable of displaying both fixed width layout and reflowable content.

  3. MOBI

  4. When expanded Mobipocket, MOBI is an open standard facilitating hassle-free eBook publishing. Compatible on multiple platforms, electronic books in MOBI have .mobi or .prc as extension. These can accommodate complex content, support indexing as well a great level of compression. Also advanced controls for navigation can be included. Readers can incorporate extra pages, dictionary, annotations, sketches, corrections, highlights, bookmarks, and more according to their requirements.

    Companies offering eBook formatting and conversion services recommend this if you are targeting mainly on audiences using smaller screens as the image size can’t exceed 64K. With larger devices, the images may appear weird.

  5. AZW

  6. Brought in by Amazon, AZW is specifically suited for Kindle eBook readers. It can be considered as an enhanced version of MOBI with greater features including better support for encryption and compression. These files can be obtained only from Amazon book stores. This is restricted by Digital Rights Management (DRM) and can be read only on the device to which the book is automatically registered with the purchaser’s user account.

  7. PDF

  8. The PDF is one of the most common ebook file formats. It was created by Adobe for Acrobat. The popularity of this eBook extension has grown extensively, as it is compatible with a number of devices. PDF files can be read on various devices, like Foxit reader, Adobe reader, PDF-Xchange Viewer, Nitro PDF reader, Xpdf and other devices. Most of these tools are freeware. However, one drawback of the PDF format is that, the content is generally scaled for letter or A4 size sheets. Therefore, it becomes unreadable, when the size is reduced in devices with small screens or smartphones.

  9. ODF

  10. ODF, or Open Document Format, is an open-source file format, based on XML. This is used for exchanging or saving charts, texts, spreadsheets and presentations. The files that are saved under ODF are known as ‘OpenDocuments’. They have extensions like .doc or .xls, which are easily recognizable. You should be able to make the necessary comparison of ebook formats and choose the right ones for your purpose.

  11. LIT

  12. LIT is a popular file format for ebooks. It was created primarily for the Microsoft Reader software. This tool is compatible with Windows Mobile devices, PocletPC, Hanlin eReader and PCs. However, this format was discontinued from November 2011. By August 2012, the Microsoft Reader software was stopped bring downloaded.

You may be looking for one of the best ebook formats for kindle. You can still use this tool on your device, but will not be able to add fresh content in it. Now, you have a comprehensive knowledge on the different types of ebook formats. Choose the correct format that can seamlessly serve your purpose.

Now, if you have understood the differences between the most common ebook file formats, go ahead confidently and decide which format to proceed with. For any further assistance, you can contact us.

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