PDF Vs ePub : Which Format to Use for your Ebook?

Posted on September 21, 2015

Publishing an eBook? Read this blog post to find out which format (PDF or ePUB) will be more suited for your ebook and popular reading devices.

With epublishing making it big in today’s world and eBooks becoming popular, you can choose between ePub or PDF. With advancements in technology and the coming of new reading devices like the Sony Reader, BeBook Neo, Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook, publishing houses are now looking at developer-friendly files for the eBook market. Before you decide on which format is best for your ePublishing environment, read the advantages and disadvantages of the PDF and the ePub format.

PDF (Portable Document Format)

The PDF format was developed by Adobe Systems in the year of 1993. The two-dimensional layout of a PDF file can work independently on some operating systems and software. To view a PDF format on a computer, you must install Acrobat, a specialized reader.

The Pros

  • The most widely used electronic document format
  • Complete control over fonts and layouts
  • Files can be generated by GUI-based tools, other than those made by Adobe (Example: Microsoft Word can produce PDF files)
  • The reader software used to read PDFs is free and is pre-installed on most computers

The Cons

  • The code used to generate a PDF file is complex and difficult to learn and master
  • Seamless conversion of a PDF file into a web-friendly format is difficult
  • PDF files are not reflowable and do not adapt well to the various sizes of devices and displays
  • There may be difficulties in viewing PDF files on the small screens of some SmartPhones and Readers

ePUB ( Electronic  Publication)

The ePub format was first standardized by the International Digital Publishing Forum and has today become popular with leading publishers. ePub uses an XML format for reflowable books that are developed for digital publication purposes. Although this format is primarily used for eBooks, it can also used for other types of documentation, like user manuals.

The Pros

  • Since ePub is written in both XML and XHTML, it can work well with different types of software
  • An ePub files can be delivered as a single zip file, which creates an archive of the content and organizational files needed for a eBook
  • Platforms which already use XML formats can be seamlessly transferred into ePub
    ePub files are reflowable and are easy to read even on devices with small screens

The Cons

  • Stringent requirements have to be followed for developing a zip archive for ePub
  • Developing an ePub document requires prior knowledge on the functioning of an ePub file
  • To create an ePub file, you will need to comprehend the syntax of XML and XHTML 1.1. You will also need to know how to create a style sheet
  • While a PDF file can be created without any real programming knowledge, creating an ePub file will require a thorough understanding of associated languages to build a valid file

Which format would you choose while publishing an eBook? ePub or PDF? Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below. We, at Flatworld Solutions love to hear from you!

Read more about PDF conversion services and ePub conversion services.

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