What’s the Difference Between an eBook and an ePub?

ebook reader and coffee cup

First off, What’s an eBook? 

The term eBook is short for electronic book.  The term refers to any book that is accessed on a digital device.  That device could be an eBook reader, a mobile phone, a computer, or even a screen reader. 

eBooks come in a variety of different types—including the ePub type. Think of it this way: That best seller you got off of the Amazon Kindle App?  That’s an eBook. That eBook you grabbed on Marketing Strategies from a website?  That’s an eBook, too, but that one is probably going to be in the PDF format.  An educational text, on the other hand, is likely to be an ePub file type.  But it’s still an eBook! 

Open Format and Closed Format 

Some eBooks, like the ones you purchase through Amazon’s Kindle store, can only be viewed through proprietary software.  They cannot be converted to another format.  And in a lot of cases, they can only be viewed by the person who purchased them.  This is what’s called a closed format. 

That PDF we talked about earlier, however, can be opened on just about anything.  You do need software to open a PDF but no one has the exclusive rights to that software or file type.  That makes this PDF an open format.  Open format documents can also be converted, fairly easily, into other formats.  

Okay, so What’s an ePub then? 

An ePub is an open format eBook that is highly interactive and ever evolving.  Modern ePub files can contain images, videos, links to websites, and more. That’s because they’re actually made up of HTML—the same language that makes up the internet. This allows them to provide a feature rich experience.   Users can change an ePub font or font size to better fit their device. They can even make use of a variety of ePub accessibility features.

For all of these reasons, ePubs are an extremely popular format for eBooks. This format is utilized by Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, Google—and more.  Check out our other blogs to learn more about what EPUBS can do. 

What’s the Difference Between an eBook and an ePub?
Scroll to top