ePub VS PDF, Which One is Better eBook Format and Why?

| | February 26, 2023

Ebooks are on the rise and they are a great way to publish your content. There are many reasons why people prefer eBooks over other digital formats. 

The most popular reason is that they can be shared easily, adapt and supports different kinds of devices offering a great readability experience to users. And most importantly, people can earn passive income by selling eBooks on online market place.

According to Statista, the revenue in the eBook segments was projected to reach $13.62 billion dollar in 2022 and is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2022-2027) of 3.38%, resulting in a projected market volume of US$16.08bn by 2027.

Ebooks are created in two major file types: ePub and PDF. But which one is better? 

In this blog post, we'll compare ePub vs PDF, looking at the pros and cons of each format to help you decide which one is right for you.

Note: This article contains affiliate links. When you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, we get a small compensation at no cost to you. See our Privacy Policy and Disclaimer for more info.

epub vs pdf

What is the ePub file format?

The ePub format is designed specifically for digital publication of eBooks. They are lightweight and supported by devices like desktop, tablet or mobile, making them a great choice for reading on the go.

One of the main advantages of ePub is that it is reflowable, meaning that it can be easily resized to fit any screen size. With the development of a new eBook format (ePub 3.0) now ePub is capable of producing both reflowing content and fixed layout.

This makes ePub files ideal for reading on smaller devices, such as smartphones and e-readers. Another advantage of ePub is that it supports DRM, meaning that you can add security to your eBooks to prevent unauthorized copying.

Pros of ePub

  • ePub is more flexible than PDF
  • ePub can be read on a variety of devices, including computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones
  • ePub file formats are relatively smaller in size
  • ePubs are reflowable, meaning they can be easily reformatted to fit any screen size
  • Cons of ePub

  • Not as widely supported as PDF
  • Requires special software to read
  • Must Read: What are eBooks?

    What is the PDF file format?

    PDF (Portable Document Format) is a universal format developed by Adobe in 1992 as an electronic representation of a printed document. They are typically larger than ePub files, making them less suitable for reading on the go.

    However, PDF files have a number of advantages over ePub files. PDF files have a fixed layout, meaning that they will retain their original formatting regardless of the screen size.

    This is ideal for reading documents that contain a lot of images or complex layouts. PDF files can be password-protected, making them more secure than ePub files and they can also be easily shared and viewed on almost any device.

    Pros of PDF

  • PDFs are more widely supported than ePubs.
  • You can view PDF on any device including PDF readers, computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
  • PDFs maintain their formatting across devices, so you'll always see the same layout no matter where you're reading.
  • PDFs are great for reading long documents or books because you can zoom to read and easily scroll through them.
  • Cons of PDF

  • More rigid than ePub
  • Have a large file size than ePub
  • PDFs can be slow to load on some devices
  • What are the Advantages of ePub over PDF?

    Here are the top 5 advantages that ePub has over the PDF format:

    1. Flexible Format

    ePub is a more flexible format than PDF. It can be read on a variety of devices, including eReader devices, tablets, and smartphones.

    The format is designed to reflow content, which means that it adjusts to the size of the screen. This makes it easy to read ePub files on a variety of devices offering users an immersive reading experience.

    On the other hand, PDF files are designed to be printed and are not meant to be reflowed. In other words, it doesn't adapt well to various-sized displays and devices and they will look the same on any device.

    Thus, PDF files can be read on many devices (except very small mobile devices), but they may not be as easy to read as ePub files.

    2. Flexible Editing

    With an ePub file, you can change the font size, the margins, and the spacing between lines of text by simply editing the HTML codes. By making these small changes, you can easily make the ePub reflowable and smaller in size.

    This can be very helpful if you're trying to make a document more readable on a device like an eBook reader or if you want to save space on your device. You can edit a PDF file using Adobe Acrobat but you can't make it reflow like an ePub file.

    3. More Interactive

    As compared to PDF, eBooks in ePub format allow you to make it more interactive by adding rich media content. Unlike PDF which mainly contains static content - text, images and hyperlinks, ePub can contain multimedia content.

    Thus, ePub is a more interactive and multimedia-rich format than pdf. It has been designed in a way that the reader can interact with the content, choose the font size, change the background color and even jump to a specific page.

    PDFs are primarily designed for printing purposes and are not as interactive as ePubs. They are also not supported by all devices which makes them inconvenient to read on very small size mobile devices.

    4. More Secure

    While you can secure a PDF file with a password, this method is not entirely safe. There are many online software that can easily remove password from a protected PDF. So, the password protection is not very effective.

    On the other hand, ePub are more secure than a PDF. These files are encrypted, so they're more difficult to hack. It can also be password-protected, so only authorized users can access them.

    ePub files can be DRM-protected, so they can't be copied or shared illegally. You can make it even more secure by adding watermark to it, so you can track them if they're shared without your permission. If you want to learn more about eBook protection, check out our article - Protect eBook Piracy.

    5. Support Multiple Platforms

    eBooks created in ePub format are widely accepted formats for digital publication and are supported by almost all types of eBook readers. 

    Ebook publishing platforms like Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Nook and Barnes & Noble also accept ePub files. Due to these reasons, digital publishers and authors prefer the ePub file format over the PDF format for their eBooks.

    As PDF contains a fixed layout it makes it difficult to read on all eBook readers. If you have already created your eBook in PDF, you can convert it into an ePub using free tools available online.

    ePub or PDF, whatever may be the book format, it is quite easier to convert from one format to another. There are many online tools available that can convert ePub to PDF and PDF to ePub.

    If you ever need to change your file from one format to another, you can use these converters. For example, if you need to convert a PDF into an eBook file format like ePub, you can check out our article - Best PDF to ePub Converter.

    Do you know? EPUB3 is the latest version of the EPUB standard. It offers many improvements over previous versions, including better support for images and other multimedia content such as video, audio, and interactive elements like hyperlinks.

    Wrapping Up

    PDF and ePub are very popular file formats. PDFs are fixed file formats created to take notes, highlights, annotate, etc with Adobe Acrobat whereas Epub is a free and open e-book file format developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) to offer readability and interactivity features to its users.

    I hope by going through this article, you would be now able to choose between ePub or PDF as per your requirements.

    In short, if the publisher wishes the document to be displayed in its original layout regardless of the device display size then PDF is the preferred file format. If document like ePub books is intended to be displayed mostly on handheld devices like Kindle or a smartphone then ePub is preferred.

    If you need help in creating your first eBook, check out our article - How to write an eBook, where I have explained all the important steps and tools required to produce an eBook.

    Sharing is Caring! If you like my effort in creating this article - ePub vs PDF, please share it with your friends on social networks using the sharing link given below.

    Photo of author

    Deepak Choudhary

    Deepak Choudhary is the founder of Technicalwall.com. He is a Blogger and an Affiliate Marketing Expert. He publishes useful articles for newbie bloggers related to the following topics - Affiliate Marketing, Email Marketing, Software Reviews, Software Tutorials, Blogging, WordPress, SEO, Passive Income, and more.