What is the Difference Between EPUB, MOBI, AZW, and PDF eBook Formats

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Anwer Khan
Anwer Khan
Anwer is passionate about helping others to understand this complex web called the Internet. He also has interests Mobile Phones, Movies and Golf.

Let’s find out all the common eBook file formats and know the differences so that you can pick the one you find appropriate for you.

A report from Statista says that the eBook market share has snowballed in the last few years.

While it was just 12.3% in 2013, it had grown to over 26% in 2018. It is proof that a lot more people are adopting to read eBooks rather than buying physical books.

Surely, nothing can beat the joy of reading a physical book, the smell of fresh pages, ability to read them anywhere you can, but there are still a lot of benefits when you opt for an eBook.

In this article, we will find out the difference between different types of eBook format such as EPUB, MOBI, AZW, and PDF eBook Formats.

What is EPUB?

EPUB format of eBook files is properly the most common and widely supported formats across all the platforms.

There are a lot of eBook reader apps that support the EPUB format for few of them include Moon Reader (my favourite), Kobo, Apple’s iBooks, Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Adobe Digital Editions.

The EPUB file format is Open Standard, which means it is free and publicly available, you can search for it on the Internet, and mostly all the favourite books are available in this format.

The EPUB file format has a feature that would allow the readers to change the font size for the background colour and do a bit of their formatting to personalize the reading experience.

What is MOBI?

It was mainly created for Mobipocket eBook Reader which was acquired by Amazon in 2005. Amazon started using it for their Kindle apps, where EPUB is it supported, although you can still convert EPUB to MOBI.

Apart from the Kindle App, for which it’s the proprietary format, the MOBI format is also supported by a lot of Desktop-based apps so that you can read files of this format on your computer as well.

Like the EPUB file format, MOBI format also gives a lot of options of personalizing the content of the eBook, such as highlighting for bookmarking a certain area or making a correction for adding nodes if the device support set.

Read more about What is MOBI File and How to Open it 

What is AZW?

After Amazon discontinued the MOBI format in 2011, they opted for AZW, which is now the proprietary format for Amazon Kindle eBook readers.

Although the format is based on MOBI, it has better compression and encryption abilities.

The Kindle devices and Kindle apps mainly support the Format, and the AZW format eBooks can be downloaded or bought from the Kindle Book Store.

AZW format is DRM (digital rights management) protected and is locked to the device id which is registered with the user account of the Kindle owner.

What is PDF?

It is not an eBook format since it is used for a lot of documents as well, Adobe created it, and the PDF stands for Portable Document Format.

Unlike the EPUB and MOBI formats, the PDF file format has a fixed width layout, meaning it can contain anything from text to charts to drawings, and it is also not suitable for reading content on smaller devices since the content does not adapt to different screens.

If you try to open a PDF document on your mobile phone and is created on PC with an A4 size page, it will be tough for you to read the contents of the PDF document.

PDF was commonly used as an eBook file format in the previous years, and it is still used by independent content creators who are selling information based eBooks on the internet since it is easy to create or edit one.

The PDF files can be digitally signed and be secured from editing or changing the content of the document.

Also, you don’t require an eBook reader to read the PDF document since it is natively supported on both computer and mobile phones.

So these are few of the common eBook file formats, and I hope this article might have cleared out your confusion regarding different file formats.

If you are wondering whether it is possible to convert MOBI to EPUB or EPUB to MOBI or PDF to EPUB, there are software and services available that will let you convert these file formats so that you can use your favourite app or reader to read your eBooks.

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