Those were the days when readers carried hard-bound reading material in their bags to seize the opportunity whenever they had to dive into another world inside these books. But technology has shifted how we read today, and we have a whole bookhouse to ourselves inside one gadget, thanks to books to ebooks conversions.

With modernization, the publishing industry is also updated. This shift is majorly seen in the past decade when physical books are converted into Electronic Books to ease the way of reading using any gadget like e-readers, laptops, tablets and ebooks can be easily accessible even on mobile phones.

what is an ebook

In this article, we have compiled all the information around ebook conversion, the meaning, its types, all about the formats and more.

What is an eBook? The Explanation

An eBook, aka electronic book, is a digital format of hard-copy books that can be easily accessible and read on an ereaders, computer screen, or handheld device.

Sometimes, it is also referred to as an electronic version of the printed book. It can contain images, text, links to other sources, infographics, interactive videos, and more, and is usually presented in a non-editable form so that readers could not potentially change any information without the permission of authors and publishers.

Types of eBooks Layout

Once you decide to convert a normal book into an eBook, you would have different options to choose from. Before indiscriminately choosing an option, you need to take a break and weigh the various options available.

Different eBook formats are present for different book types. If you go for an incompatible eBook version, your readers would feel lost and distracted. Eventually, your loyal readership would decline.

It would be wise to take a look at various ebook types so that you can make a conscious decision about the format that best serves your purpose.

  1. Reflowable eBooks

    As the name suggests, the content of reflowable eBook appears to be flowing from page to page. This makes the content adapt intuitively to the dimensions of the reader’s device screen without anything spilling out of the readable area.

    Your reader can adjust various settings for optimum reading pleasure. Settings that can be tweaked including the size of font, spacing between lines, style, margins, etc. As soon as you change the settings, the content embraces the same and reflows accordingly.

    The flexible approach of the eBook ensures that the same content can appear differently to different audiences. On a given device, the length of the eBook may span 200 pages while on another it may be just 50 pages.

    Reflowable eBook is available in 2 formats:

    • .mobi for Kindle readers
    • epub for Android, iOS, Nook and other systems.

    Your printed book can be converted into reflowable ebook versions by first converting into PDF format and then into HTML5 and CSS. This is similar to web pages. However, if you want the styling of your eBook to be impeccable, you need to hire someone with adequate technical understanding of the eBook properties. This would result in images being positioned strategically, headings being provided in multi-level manner, lists carrying bullets, and captions and links properly placed.

    The technical standards governing them are constantly getting updated. The format still suffers from minor limitations like no support for complex design elements such as fixed position content or columns. Text cannot be wrapped around pictures and things cannot be locked in place.

    Fanciful fonts or color are not displayed by the majority of Kindle readers. This implies that you still can’t present a reflowable eBook with the same typographical clarity and typesetting embellishment like a normal printed book. As technical standards are getting improved, texts and embedded images can be controlled in a better manner.

    With the release of each new device, sophistication level and styling intricacy increases.
    Reflowable eBooks may be suffering from certain styling related shortcomings, but they enjoy maximum popularity among readers and publishers.

    All eBook retail platforms support selling of reflowable eBooks. Many eBooks in fiction and non-fiction genres are published in this format. If your printed book is text only or carries in-line pictures of standard type, conversion to reflowable format can be done inexpensively.

    However, the conversion of books with complex styling may be a costly affair. A number of changes have to be done before the book can adjust to reflowable format specifications.

  2. Fixed Layout eBooks

    In this format, content layout and styling remains fixed for overall device types. If you want to retain the same feel, layout, and appearance as the printed version, you can opt for this format. Children’s storybooks and recipe books are typical examples for this where everything is fixed for all the devices these are available on.

    A major advantage of this format is that the text searching and selection are enabled in this. Content is not reflowable. This implies that pages won’t intuitively adapt to the screen’s dimensions and font type or size can’t be changed.

    In many ways, fixed layout eBooks resemble PDF format. Content on page 50 on one device would exactly be the same on another device. Although the retail market space is fast-growing, still fixed layout eBooks can be sold only through chosen retailers.

    Talking about the format, the fixed layout eBook is presently available in 2 major formats.

    • Kindle oriented KF8 fixed layout
    • Apple supported epub fixed layout

    Technical experts carry out the optimization of design elements of physical books to render flawless fixed-layout ebooks that are compatible with digital readers. Paginated sections, references, links, blank spaces, trim sizes, etc. are adapted. The process is a complex one.

    For fonts to be used in the eBook, you can purchase an eBook font license which is expensive. Else, you can choose from free fonts available.

    Text size is the main constraint experienced with a fixed-layout eBook. If you have published a children’s storybook with a large font size, the same would appear appealing over a big screen. However, if the reader tries to go through the eBook over the smartphone, she/he would be frustrated. Certain devices with smaller screens allow zooming in of text but that doesn’t render the reading experience interesting.

    The reading device exercises complete control over the aspects of a fixed-layout eBook. Kindle devices except Kindle Fire cannot display color. So, high resolution fixed eBook pages won’t appear aesthetically pleasing to readers. However, as an author, you may not lose heart. IPad and other devices with high-resolution display make the reading of fixed-layout eBooks a thoroughly rewarding experience.

    The ideal platforms for publishing fixed layout eBooks are Google Play and iBooks by Apple.

  3. ePDF

    ePDF cannot be categorized as a complete eBook. It is just a variant of the normal PDF type. The difference lies in the tweaking which is done to make the PDF book easier to read on electronic devices’ screens. ePDFs are not sold or distributed by online eBooks retail platforms.

    No matter what, the ePDFs have their own set of advantages mentioned below-

    • You can easily make changes to the printable versions of eBook
    • Add colorful images, insert hyperlinks which can be clicked
    • You can insert interactive panels to facilitate navigation.

    The rising popularity of ePDF can be attributed to the fact that PDF readers like Adobe or Foxit software are available for tablets and smartphones.

    With the help of ePDF, you can publish and sell them directly from your own site without having to get the book first converted into a different layout through complex procedure and then negotiate for best price with online retailers.

    Compared to other formats, ePDFs can be produced easily and inexpensively. The layout of ePDF would be similar to that of printed books just like a fixed layout format. The only disadvantage is that ePDF books cannot be sold through popular online retail platforms.

    However, readers can go about downloading, saving and reading them from literally any device with a PDF reading application. Some readers may face difficulty in reading them on smaller e-devices as every page would behave like a fixed image. The large file size makes it mandatory to have sufficient space on the device for downloading and reading.

Popular eBook File Formats

There are many eBook formats but we may come across only a few during the course of reading. Although specific format may be popular among readers, they are open to other formats that promise interesting reading.

The formats vary on multiple counts. The capability to present reflowable and fixed layout content is the primary differentiator. Other factors include support for digital copy protection or DRM, multimedia content, images and compatibility with different reading devices.

Free eBook Publishing Platforms

  1. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

    It is an online eBook publishing platform that won’t require you to spend even a single penny. It means that setting up an account is free at KDP, and uploading eBooks is even easier.However, before converting your manuscripts, you first need to convert it into Amazon’s proprietary format. Once it is done, you can upload the eBooks and make them available within 24-48 hours. Reach us if you are looking for KDP formatting support.

  2. BookRix

    It is another free e-publishing site that allows authors to distribute their eBooks to major online stores, which will provide them a royalty payment of around 70% of the sales. It is completely flexible and risk-free, thereby allowing users to cancel it at any time they want. The community consists of more than half a million of professional authors and readers.

  3. Smashwords

    It is one of the top pioneers in the digital publishing domain and has a large collection of published books that are the works of nearly 40,000 authors. By using it, one can easily publish the eBooks to a wide range of online stores like Apple’s iBook, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, etc.  Apart from uploading, users can also sell and promote their works directly on the self-publishing platform.

  4. Apple’s eBook Store

    Users who need to provide maximum exposure to the eBooks can choose Apple’s store and iTunes. Both the online stores are free to use and require the conversion of files into ePub or iBooks format. The royalty payment provided by Apple to the authors is similar to that of the payment offered to the iPhone and iPad app developers, i.e., almost 70% of the sales.

  5. Lulu Publishing

    Lulu Publishing is also among the leading self-publishing eBook industries that offer the worldwide distribution of eBooks. It allows authors to reach their potential readers who are about anywhere with the help of e-readers, tablets, and print devices. Here, users can create eBooks that suit a variety of devices and platforms. It is easier to earn more by selling eBooks through Lulu.

Top Benefits of eBooks

  • Provides amazing readers’ experience
  • Value addition to learning
  • Portable & easy to study at any place
  • Instant text highlight & search facility
  • Highly affordable


eBooks can serve as a medium of consistent income for you. If writing is your passion, you can transform it into your forte by publishing your ideas in a readable manner. If you need any assistance in creating the eBooks, reach out to the professional ebook conversion companies that help in creating the best eBooks for you as per your requirement and also help in a proper ebook distribution as well.

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