So you’ve written a book and you need to get it out into the world. You’ve chosen to self-publish it, however you’re not by any stretch of the imagination know how to transform that book content on your PC into something that can be read by general public.

In this post, we will demonstrate to you the three common file standards in self-publishing and let you know how you can design books in these formats. Are you ready?


EPUB: One Format to Rule Them All

An .EPUB format book is the most generally accepted digital book format. It’s the industry standard, utilized by Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google for their digital book platforms.

A free and open standard based on HTML (like the files your browser would read), EPUB is a remarkably adaptable format that backs a huge list of features. It can make your book’s content compatible to fit your gadget, embed pictures, and take into consideration bookmarking, highlighting and text to speech. The most recent version, EPUB 3.1, will even allow you to include interactive media content like video and audio bits.

All around, it’s quite awesome, which is the reason why most in the digital publishing industry have considered it their most preferred eBooks format. If you are looking to upload your book directly to eBook retail platforms like Kobo Writing Life or Nook Press, or, use an “aggregator” like Smashwords or Draft2Digital, your book should be in EPUB format.

So what’s preventing EPUB from being the single advanced eBook format?


MOBI: The Kindle Exception

Amazon’s Kindle Store is the largest eBook publishing platforms in the world, and by a significantly long way. In 2015, it was in charge of more than 70 percent of eBooks sold in the US. So you can understand why authors and publishers are really quick and desperate to get their books into the Kindle Store.

However, what does this need to do with the mainstream DJ and popular artists?

Incidentally, the eBooks you purchase on the Kindle Store will have the file extension .mobi, however are really processed to an exclusive standard called AZW. These files are secured by Digital Rights Management (DRM), which “bolts” the book so it can only be accessed on gadgets linked to your Amazon account.

But don’t worry: Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing administration has an embedded tool which gladly accepts EPUB documents.

eBooks USA Market Share

(Source of image: Author Earnings)

PDF: Your Single Solution for Good Old Fashioned Print Media

Maybe the most economical method of distributing hard copies on a small scale, authors commonly use what is known as a POD (Print on Demand) service. Rather than booking a print run and filling a distribution center with paperbacks, copies are printed when there is an order. The two most well known POD service providers are IngramSpark and CreateSpace (an Amazon company).

If you are interested in different file formats, you’ll be pleased to know that we can use simple tools to export PDFs with the Adobe PDF/X-1a:2001 format: a standard utilized by most expert printers.


So what platforms require which format?

In case you’re printing hard copies with a POD service, you will require a print-prepared PDF. For eBooks, you will be able to submit EPUB book to any platform, including the Kindle store. From a practical viewpoint, those two formats are enough for you to work with.