Epub vs. Mobi: What’s The Difference, Pros, Cons & Which Is Best

Epub vs. Mobi format is something that many people probably don’t think much about until they’re downloading an ebook onto their device and notice that there are several ebook formats to choose from. If you don’t know anything about Epub files or Epub format, or Mobi files and format, you may wonder what the difference is and if one is better than the other. You’ll probably notice different ebook formats as well, such as PDF format. This article will help you understand the difference between these ebook formats.

Epub Format

The Epub file is the most widely used ebook file format. Developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum, it is a free and open standard. This means that it is a very widely accepted ebook format and used by everything, except Kindle format.

Epub files can support a lot of different media. A sort of jack of all trades, an Epub file can support images, full video and audio clips, interactive elements, and more.

Cons of Epub

The only big con to the Epub format for ebook readers is that Kindle does not support it, and it cannot be read on any Kindle device aside from the Kindle Fire.

You can, however, convert an Epub file to a Mobi file on Amazon Kindle devices such as the Kindle Paperwhite. Once the file has been converted, Kindle apps have no problem with this ebook format. It is, however, an aggravating extra step to have to do as a reader who just wants to read the content.

Mobi Format

Originally developed by a French company (Mobipocket), it was purchased by Amazon in 2005. For a little over a decade, the Mobi format was the go-to format for all of Amazon’s ebooks. Then, Amazon shut down its servers, but it is still in use and is widely supported.

A Mobi file can be read and supported by most e-readers. Therefore, it does what Epub files cannot and supports Kindle devices. However, there is usually an exception to the rule, and Mobi format is no exception to this. Barnes and Noble’s Nook e-reader does not support Mobi files.

Epub vs. Mobi, mobi formatted ebooks

Cons of Mobi

Aside from the fact that you cannot use Mobi files on a Nook, this program has one other major setback. Mobi format is not an open format, and it does not support sound or videos.

PDF Files

The PDF file is widely used and one of the most common ebook formats. It is one open format, which is a significant plus. It is an easy way to download and read ebooks, and almost everyone knows how to use PDF files, making it one of the most popular document formats available.

Cons of PDF Format

The big downside of using a PDF file is that they can’t be adapted to fit the screen you’re using, sometimes making it a hassle to use due to its fixed layout. When you have to continuously scroll to the left, right, up, or down just to see the ebook file that you downloaded, it can become very tedious and take the allure of a user-friendly and easy PDF.

Epub vs. Mobi: Which is Better?

When asked to choose which ebook format you’d like the next time you want to download a book, what will you choose? Some information has been given on the two major types of e-file readers, but now let’s put them up against each other and see which is the superior file format, or at least, which one is better for you.

The Epub File

While it seems like a major drag that the Amazon format does not support the Epub file format, there are definitely great things about downloading an Epub book. You can add bookmarks, embed images, and much more. Epub is also widely supported by devices.

Epub is supported by:

  • Google E-readers
  • Google Play Books
  • Apple’s iBooks
  • Barnes and Noble’s Nook
  • Android tablets
  • Adobe Digital Editions

While the setback of not being supported by Kindle e-readers is one that seems somewhat major, you can convert the file format to ebook files that are supported by Amazon. Epub also adjusts its display and layout to fit the screen of whatever output device you’re using. Also, Epub is a zip file or archive file that contains a plethora of different files like XHTML files and others, making it very diverse.

The Mobi File

The major difference between a Mobi file and the Epub file is that Mobi is used exclusively by all Amazon e-readers. Mobi is also not an open format, so there are far fewer types of files that can be used with Mobi. Digital Rights Management (DRM) protects all of the Mobi files on Amazon, essentially keeping them locked onto the Amazon device that is being used. They prefer that their own format be used, and this is one surefire way to make sure that they get their way. Amazon remains the largest ebook retailer, so Mobi probably isn’t going away any time soon.

Epub vs. Mobi, epub or mobi file

Convert Mobi to Epub

Here are the steps to convert Mobi to Epub:

  1. Choose a Mobi to Epub converter online
  2. Upload the Mobi file
  3. Select the quality size (optional)
  4. Drop down and choose “to Epub.”
  5. Wait for the file to convert
  6. Download the Epub file after conversion

The Verdict

Both Epub and Mobi files are widely used and are great for what they are needed for. However, unless you’re using Kindle format on Kindle devices, you’re better off using Epub. If you are a fan of ebooks through Amazon (most ebooks sold are Amazon), then Mobi and its mostly Kindle format may be right for you.

The PDF File

The PDF file is the third heavy hitter when it comes to e-readers and formatting. Nearly everyone knows what a PDF is, as nearly everyone is familiar with print-ready pdf files and read-only pdf files, even if they are not very technological or computer savvy.

There are, however, certain drawbacks to using a PDF file. For example, if you have a small print pdf book, you cannot adjust font size. Therefore, you are stuck with what you can see. This is an inconvenience that doesn’t exist with more adaptable formats like Epub books. PDF books are well-liked because they are easy to use, but this format doesn’t change, no matter how inconvenient the size of the text is.

On the upside, however, PDF is the best format for graphically intensive ebooks, as the images in a PDF don’t distort or change due to its fixed layout. This preserves the quality of the images in the file.

How to Try Formatting for Yourself

Self-publishing authors commonly attempt to format their work themselves, at least when first experimenting with the process of self-publishing. While you can hire someone or a company to format your work professionally, learning how it’s done can be beneficial.

If you’d like to learn to format or have access to a free tool to try it out so you can create a print version or print-ready pdfs, Reedsy has this capability. Easy and user-friendly, even if you have never tried formatting before, you can experiment with the format tool and then keep your file as a PDF or as an Epub file. Other formats are not available, but these are two types of files that are so common that most ebook retailers are proponents of them. This tool is a free download called the Reedsy Book Editor.

The Future is Digital

The publishing industry involves far more than deciding on things like book cover art, changing the names of your characters, and making sure that your ending is good. Staying up to date on all of the technology is difficult, but the key differences between e-reader formats are something you should try to stay informed of. While you may plan on selling physical copies of your book, the world is moving on, and digital is the way of the future.

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