3 eBook formats – Pdf, ePub, and Mobi – Which one to choose for your novel? Read it later

eBook Formats

Your novel is written, edited, and now you need to layout and publish it as a paperback or eBook.

Besides the classic Word® or Amazon KdP, which eBook format should you choose between Mobi, ePub, or Pdf? Here are the differences.

Watch the eBook Formats video

Why choose a specific ebook format?

Over the past 10 years, self-publishing has allowed many Authors to market themselves in the publishing field without a traditional publisher.
Many Authors are taking advantage of eCommerce distribution platforms, such as Amazon, which allow them to upload, publish, distribute, print, and ship their novels completely independently.

With the rapid expansion of self-publishing came out the Authors’ need to learn about various eBook formats.

The eBook format is the format of the file containing the manuscript that the Author wish to upload to the self-publishing platform in order to be able to distribute the digital version of their book, i.e. the eBook.

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Aside from specific eBook formats required by a few platforms, each eBook format has its own purpose based on the type of publication.

The most commonly used formats are ePub, Mobi and Pdf.

All of these three digital formats allow you to read a book online, but each one differs depending on the device. Let’s see how:

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Pdf is the least recent digital format of the three, and it has two main uses:

Print on Demand (PoD), or print-on-demand, which is widely used by online stores, such as Amazon and StreetLib, where there is the need for the file and paperback versions to have a perfect match;

Pdf is widely used in photographic handbooks and illustrated books, where the size and position of the images and the ratio with the text are crucial.


The Mobi eBook format is Amazon‘s answer to the ePub format. Mobi files are used only for Amazon’s Kindle software and KdP on eReaders, PCs and Laptops, tablets, and smartphones. If you’re thinking of publishing on an exclusive basis with Amazon, Mobi is the right format for you… as long as your novel isn’t a children’s illustrated book!


The ePUB format is the Universal eBook format accepted by eReaders other than Kindle, like Kobo.

Apple (iOS), Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Google eReaders use the ePub format.

A note for Authors who wish to reach the Italian readers. Although abroad they have their share of the market, in Italy, Google readers are not yet as popular as Kindle and Kobo readers.

Publishing tips for the Italian publishing market

Let’s sum up

The ePub and Mobi formats are perfect for projects where text prevails over images, such as novels, essays, non-fiction handbooks, and short stories; while the Pdf format is suitable for those who have a project in mind where graphics and images are predominant, such as in illustrated books and photo handbooks, or albums.

Some Authors ask the proofreader to set up the file for the various eBook formats and thus receive a file in Word, i.e. .docx, Pdf, ePub and Mobi in order to be able to choose later how to publish and distribute their novel.

Publishing tips

I hope I’ve helped you figure out which eBook format best suits your needs. If you ever need to layout and convert your novel, look here or reach me out through social networks or eMail.

Happy publishing.

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