5 E-book Formats You Should Know

Filed in eBooks by on July 18, 2013

eBook FormatsHave you joined the e-book craze? If not, you should brace yourself because in just a few more years you won’t have a choice.

I’m not saying e-books will completely take over print books, but I am a realist. By the end of this year, it is likely that e-books will outsell print books and if I’m wrong, then it will happen by the end of next year. If you are a reader, you should start reading e-books. If you are a writer, then you should consider publishing in the e-book formats.

And I don’t just mean one format. You should consider publishing in all the popular formats. Like these listed below.

Portable Document Format

PDF documents (Portable Document Format) have been around for a long time. They’re not new. But they are versatile.

The advantage to publishing in the PDF format is that PDF books can be read on a variety of computer systems. PDFs can be read on desktop computers, laptops, tablets, cell phones, and the various e-readers on the market. If you publish your books in PDF format, then you ensure that they can be read on any device by anyone anywhere in the world.

Kindle Format

Amazon was the first company to really capitalize on e-books. You could say they started the e-book revolution. It all started with the Kindle e-reader.

Amazon Kindles can read several types of Kindle files. The basic file is a Mobipocket document, or .mobi. The proprietary Kindle format is AZW. Another file format any Kindle can read is .prz. If you publish e-books, you can publish in any of these three formats and your books can be read on any Kindle.

ePub Format

The most popular e-book format is the ePub. This e-book format can be read on any e-reader other than the Kindle. If you have a Sony Reader, a Kobo Reader, or a Barnes & Noble Nook reader, then you can read ePub books. If you are a writer planning to publish e-books, then you need to be familiar with the ePub format.

iBooks Format

Leave it to Apple to be different. Based on the ePub standard, Apple created its own e-book format called iBooks. iBooks are sold through the Apple iBooks store. You can read iBooks on the Apple iPad and other Apple devices. Unfortunately, you can’t read iBooks on any other device. Still, as a publisher, you should be familiar with iBooks because there are a lot of people attached to their exclusive Apple devices.

KF8 Format

The Kindle Fire has its own unique format. It can read .prc, .mobi, and AZW files, but there is another e-book format specific to the Kindle Fire: KF8.

KF8 is really a multimedia format. It is based on HTML5 and CSS3, making it a cutting-edge e-book format. If you plan to publish multimedia e-books or e-books that include moving pictures, then you’ll have to get familiar with KF8.

These five e-book formats are the most popular e-book formats today. That may change in the future, but you should be familiar with these formats if you plan to do any e-book publishing in the next year or two.

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Allen Taylor

About the Author ()

Allen Taylor writes weird fiction, literary poetry, and non-fiction. He is an award-winning journalist and Iraq War veteran. His books, which include Rumsfeld's Sandbox, The Saddest Tale Ever Told, and several Twitter poem chapbooks, are available in the Kindle format at Amazon.com and various other e-book formats at Smashwords. He is the owner/webmaster at World Class Poetry and founder of the #twitpoem hashtag. He also teaches a course titled Blog Marketing for Writers at WritersCollege.com. You can find him hanging out at Facebook, Twitter, and Google+


  1. Anne Selby Author says:

    This definite looks like a good thing. The more we understand, the better we become at it.

  2. Eileen Ward-Birch says:

    .PDF is simple to create, but how do I make it downloadable?

  3. Julia Flowers says:

    If you publish through Smashwords, they convert your PDF file to all formats.

  4. Cynthia Grenyion says:

    I think this is a wonderful approach to foster current trends of publishing.I am an amateur author but I have keen interest to learn more.Thank you for Author Mingle!