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Do Different Self-Publishing eBook Formats Confuse You?

Do you find eBook e-Publishing Formats, such as EPUB, MOBI, AMAZON KINDLE, (AZW), and PDF or even Print on Demand book publishing confusing?

Considering the cosmic increase of writers, currently self-publishing digital eBooks and Print on Demand books, (POD), there is a challenging need for authors to learn more about the fundamental formats and processes required. Existing and aspiring authors command more information and education on how to format an eBook, including accepted formats for POD publishers and distributors.

I have been self-publishing and selling my PDF and HTML executable eBooks since 2003. Yet, it has been only since the modernization of digital e-Book eReader devices, and their explosion onto the marketplace, that self-publishing eBooks have revolutionized the publishing industry. The quick advancement brings a greater need to understand the varied eBook formats available. This is especially true, if you, the writer and self-publisher, expects to accomplish the entire digital eBooks and POD books self-publishing process on your own.

Formatting preparedness for Print on Demand self-publishing books is uncomplicated and undemanding. POD self-publishing requires converting your existing writing file into a PDF format, then upload it to the publisher/distributor; namely,,, etc.

Conversely, digital formats for self-publishing eBooks require a tedious and supplementary process, when converting formats for different companies and eReader devices.

The most popular and recognizable digital eBook formats are EPUB, MOBI, TEXT, PDF, and HTML. Although PDF is a format preferred on computer systems, people utilize it on some eReaders, if images, charts, and technical drawings display imperfectly and disproportionately on devices. Generally, PDF eBooks require converting to an ePub, mobi, or text file when viewing on eReaders and tablets like the Kindle, Nook, Smart Phones, and iPad.

There are many diverse eBook formats, supported by different companies. Professionals developed the EPUB, (ePub) format as a standard for eBooks. Currently, it is the most widely accepted by a larger number of eReader manufacturers and publishers. For example, to self-publish your eBook with Barnes and Noble and Apple iBookstore, you must upload an accepted ePub formatted file; yet, Kindle Direct Publishing accepts the MOBI format.

Firstly and most importantly, if you plan to self-publish eBooks with, you should be knowledgeable their Kindle eReader utilizes a proprietary format, some with Digital Rights Management, (DRM), and utilizes formats, (.azw), (.prc), and (.mobi). On the contrary, Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple iPad, Sony Portable Digital Reader, and other eBook devices utilize the open-source ePub format recognized by the International Digital Publishing Forum.

What are the most important dynamics when self-publishing digital eBook files?

To be a self-publisher, you must purchase your own ISBN, rather than to allow the company such as,, Barnes & Noble,, etc. to supply the number for your ebook.

You will have to read the company’s agreement and guidelines thoroughly. It is imperative you understand the entire self-ePublishing versus ePublishing/Distribution process. If necessary, you should seek the advice of a professional if you have any concerns.

It is essential you understand ePub and Amazon format differences and fundamentals when self-ePublishing your digital files.

Additionally significant, although some companies accept Microsoft DOC formatted files, they may not be the best type to upload for self-publishing an EPUB or MOBI ebook.

It is paramount to edit and convert your files, to a correct format that provides a clean conversion without displaying errors when viewing on specific eReaders.

Many self-publishing eBook writers search for one tool that will enable easy, clean, and correctly formatted files ready for uploading to, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBook store, and others. Although there are software applications that convert files into different formats, I have yet to find one tool for one easy conversion that will perfectly display eBooks in all formats, for all eReader devices.

With that said, it is advantageous to realize ePub and mobi format source is HTML and supported by the majority of eReader devices. HTML provides the best and most proportioned display on nearly all devices. Additionally, HTML supports Table of Contents, links, images, and generally everything that an online web page can display. Furthermore, HTML requires the least modifications for ePublishing eBooks and makes the challenging process much easier to achieve. It will be to your gain when writing your material, you keep in mind HTML display settings will be the overall result. Conversely, the HTML format does not apply to POD self-publishing.

What format is easiest to learn and convert files when self-publishing eBooks?

Firstly, you should self-publish your eBooks with all available publishers and not only one.

Editing, formatting, and converting variables can be equally challenging when self-publishing eBooks and converting to or from MOBI or EPUB. When you decide on the best format to utilize, it should depend upon the original written material, and how much editing is initially required.

For example, are you converting from PDF to EPUB or PDF to MOBI? Conversely, are you converting and editing a DOC file or an Open Office Writer file, preparing its format for an EPUB or MOBI?

The application, Calibre Software, eases format conversions, however, in many circumstances, displays and errors accepted for your own personal reading, will not be an accepted format to upload self-publishing files.

In some instances, when ePublishing for Kindle eReader, ePub files may be simpler to convert into the Mobi format. In addition, creating and or converting an ePub format can be a greater advantage in ePublishing since there are more accepting digital publishers.

It is best you understand the variables in an EPUB file to make challenging decisions easier in a self-publishing format process.

What is an eBook ePub formatted file?

Quote from Wikipedia:

“EPUB stands for ‘electronic publication’ and it’s the accepted standard format for digital book publishing. If you want to make an ebook that can be read on a digital device, you’ll need it in this EPUB format.”

An ePub file is a container that includes different types of files for publishing digital eBooks. It is an ‘Open Publication Structure’ eBook file. Think of it as a zip file that contains many different types of files in one holding place. The holding place is actually a folder. It might be easier to visualize a jar filled with many different types of jellybeans, the jar is the folder and the different jellybeans are different types of files, all in one container/folder.

Most all eBook e-Readers will open EPUB files: namely, B&N Nook, Sony Reader, Apple iPad, smartphones, and others. However, you must convert EPUB files to view them on Amazon Kindle. The Kindle utilizes the MOBI format.

How do you convert an EPUB file to view on a Kindle eReader Device?

You can convert your documents from EPUB as well as convert other formats to EPUB.

Download Calibre free software. Install it on your computer; next, convert EPUB files to many different eBook formats, including the compatible format, MOBI for the Amazon Kindles.

You can open your Calibre software from its Desktop Icon; then follow the instructions to open the specified .ePub ebook file or any other format.

Do not simply rename a file extension to an (.ePub) in an attempt for Windows or any other PC operating system to recognize the eBook. It is necessary to convert the file into the correct EPUB format. Generally, Calibre software will provide the required conversion.

You can also read ePub files with other software applications, namely, Adobe Digital Editions, Mobipocket Reader Desktop, Stanza Desktop, and EPUB Reader: a freeware Firefox add-on that allows viewing the contents of an ePub book inside the browser without any additional software required.

There are other applications, software, add-ons, and converters; however, you do not need to review every one.

You Too, can learn How to ePublish.

It is not as difficult as it may appear when reviewing the requirements to ePublish your eBooks in all formats, or only for the Kindle eReader.

The most difficult undertaking for some may be actually writing the material for your eBook. The worst possible action is to do nothing about writing and creating your eBooks for e-Publication in distinctive formats for the various eReader devices.

The opportunity awaits those who will take the steps to publish their books or eBooks.

Failure is a guarantee if you do nothing to further your writing aspirations. Although it is possible to experience immediate success, the commonality is achieving success over time. It is necessary to promote your products utilizing marketing strategies over weeks and months to realize steady streams of sales and receive monthly checks from Barnes & Noble,, and others. You do not have to be on the bestsellers list to receive money from your eBook or book sales. Naturally, it is rewarding to be on a bestseller list; however, it is not required to have eBook/book sales that earn you revenue.

If you have great difficulty in preparing and or converting your writing files to different formats, help is obtainable. There are many available websites very willing to assist you with your formatting requirements. Normally, you will have to pay for any services rendered to convert your writing into different formats: (.mobi, .prc, .ePub), and others.

You can convert your files to the correct formats with the assistance of special tools and software noted in this article. Additionally, there are more applications not mentioned. Some software is free and others require a purchase.

You can write your ebook/book utilizing a word processor. It can be Microsoft Word, Open Office Writer, AbiWord, or LibreOffice. You can find a list of Free Word Processors at this link.

EPUB is compatible with the following devices:

iPhone, the iPod Touch, the iPad, the Sony Reader, the Nook, the iLiad, the BeBook, the Cool-er, the CyBook, the Alex eReader, the Kobo eReader, the Elonex eBook, the eSlick, the eClicto, the Hanlin eReader, the QUE ProReader, the Papyre, the Leqtor.


And, people said eBooks were just a fad.

The evolution of computers, ebooks and e-reader devices are truly attention-grabbing these days. It is difficult to believe too many people said eBooks were a fad and would last, at the most, for a few short years.

It is a fact that originally businesses and people turned the other way deciding they could never properly utilize computer equipment and accessories or other similar type devices. The very same attitude occurred when eBooks were introduced with technological advancement. Many said that eBooks would never emerge successfully.

People assumed one had to hold a physical book for it to be read and enjoyed. Audio listening devices were whispered to be a mere lazy way to obtain knowledge of a story or information. It was said by many, “these unnatural methods and schemes to degrade the physical and hard or paperback book would soon be proven ineffective, unproductive and futile”.

Although many believed the eBook would fail in sales and realized as a disastrous enterprise, technological improvement once again revolutionized the publishing industry.

Currently, many people realize reading a book as putting on headphones for an audio book, or booting up a notebook or desktop computer or turning on an e-reader device to download an ebook. Many simply turn on their Smartphone to access magazines, newsletters and e-books.

Public Libraries now offer large collections of e-books and some make available e-reader devices as well. Although, readers and viewers, (people), are paying money to download ebooks, digital music, videos, newsletters, magazines and more; some libraries continue to offer free services and products. More and more libraries provide e-readers that come preloaded with a selection of classic novels including current political ebooks, newsletters and magazines.

Along with libraries, publishers keep up with the changing times, and consumers’ technological needs to download ebooks, music and videos.

Publishers have also realized the trend and have changed their way of producing and publishing books and e-books. Publishers are now using Print On Demand (POD) as a way of decreasing business publishing costs., Barnes and Noble,, Apple and many other publishers avail the author to self-publish their material at very little or almost no expense to the writer. The eBook Transformation, Innovation, and Modernization has officially emerged.

In retrospect, I have been writing the very same conception since 2003; trying to persuade all aspiring authors to get on board the wonderful space ship. Yet, there are still some who disagree with my view.

These current times for writers are ideal! Actually, it is a thrilling era. Self-Publishing is made so easy that thousands of authors are uploading their material daily. The variety and entertainment made available, changes on a daily endless basis.

There is so much to be written and so much to be read! I hope, you who read this article, are a part of this great revolution in digital publishing and reading. There is no doubt, this is an exciting evolvement for authors!

If you would like to learn more about self-publishing, you can contact me with a request to understand your options; and discover the steps to achieve your aspiring writing goals.

If you don’t have an e-reader, or you are interested in trying one out, a library near you might just have one to experience.


More about me:

Many of you may not have been born when I first booted up my computers. Technology has truly evolved systematically over the last 35 years.

I have been a computer professional; it seems, for a lifetime. I can recall how office personnel and the public said that computers were a “craze” and that they would never be used by businesses or in the home. I also remember when I had to drive almost 75 miles to the nearest computer store because there were only 2 or 3 in the state.

I have always realized the need for computers in business and for my own personal use. Actually, I fell in love with computers and what was inside of them. It was for this reason, I got my hands on anything that looked like a computer, even when, it ran without disc drives, as it used cassettes to store data. Wow, those were the days.. when I look back upon those scenarios, it seems remarkable how quickly technology evolved.

In the early 1980’s when personal computers were introduced, I was right there purchasing any equipment and accessories I could afford. I recall when color monitors first made their appearance on the market! I was always fascinated and in awe with the magic of computers and their wonderful and capable achievements. I especially was enthralled with the games and graphics. Once I realized I could get almost any job or service done using a computer, I never looked back to a manual way of life.

The advent of the Internet was the major changing era! Since the World Wide Web introduced a technological revolution, just about anything and everything became technology oriented.

The greatest and most fruitful of all periods for me was from 2001 to 2003 when I began to publish my material using the Self-Publishing digital techniques available along with Internet Websites. It seems so elementary when I look back. However, the unknown to me at that time was a fearful, yet structural and very rewarding learning experience.

I recommend any aspiring writers take the steps to publish their material. It will make all the difference in their future!

You can contact me if you would like to obtain a more comprehensive description at our Contact Page.

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