epub textbooks

Why are ePub Textbooks Better Than PDF?

With the digitalization of the world, people’s reading habits worldwide are also changing. Technological evolution allows people to carry digital books with them wherever they go. Digital versions of books can never beat the feel of paper or a new book’s smell, but their numerous advantages outweigh these minor inconveniences.

eBooks allow easy accessibility and save you from the hassle of carrying heavy books. A single device is sufficient to store and read numerous books.

The majority of eBook reading platforms are cloud-based and are regularly updated. Additionally, an eBook can be shared with multiple users simultaneously, enabling productive collaborations. Digital books for students are thus now a highly preferred way of circulating study material in educational institutes.

Two of the most common formats for sharing and making custom eBooks are ePUB and PDF. All the major digital libraries offer the PDF format when people buy eBooks online. Readers also have the liberty of converting one format to another depending on their needs and requirements.

If you are confused about which format to choose, we have you sorted. We have explained in detail the pros and cons of PDF and ePUB to allow you to make an informed choice.

What is a PDF?

Portable Document Format, commonly referred to as PDF, is a file format first developed by Adobe in 1992. It is used for transferring documents from one system to another.

It contains various features like links, buttons, audio/video tags, form fields etc., to make it easier for readers to view the content systematically.

PDF does not provide any editing feature except for allowing readers to highlight the text they are reading. PDFs are popular in academic and corporate settings.

What is ePUB?

Electronic publishing, commonly referred to as ePUB, is majorly used for eBooks. ePUB textbooks are also called reflowable textbooks because the font size can be easily changed to fit the screen size.

Additionally, due to the pagination feature in which the page numbers change and adjust themselves depending on the device the text is being read on, ePUBs are considered to provide much more accessibility compared to PDFs. Readers with visual challenges or disabilities also prefer the ePUB format because of its accessibility features.

Comparison of PDFs and ePUBs

File Size They are larger than ePUB as they save all the characters, fonts, and fields in a non-editable format. They are smaller than PDFs because they are stored as zip files with HTML codes.
Printing PDFs are more printing friendly as compared to ePUBs. ePUBs are not printer-friendly as the alignment keeps changing due to their reflowable feature.
Editing PDFs require editors to make changes to the document. ePUBs also require editors to make changes to the file. Compared to PDFs, editing ePUBs is more complex as coding knowledge is required.
Media files PDFs do not have a lot of media files. They mainly have text and pictures. Media files like audio files, video files, infographics, etc., can be easily added to ePUBs.
Engagement and Interactivity Readers can add notes and highlight any part of the text they want. Readers can add notes and highlight text in ePUBs as well.
Security For protection, files can be locked through passwords. Multi-layer protection can be added to ePUB files as well.
Compatibility PDFs are created for a singular device. ePUBs adjust the alignment of the text automatically according to the screen size.

Why is ePUB better than PDF?

Although both ePUBs and PDFs are efficient ways of sharing custom eBooks, the consensus is that ePUBs are better than PDFs because of their reflowable feature.

Here are some more advantages of ePUBs over PDFs:

Much More Efficient Editing

Although both PDFs and ePUBs can be formatted, editing ePUBs is much more effective. You will require some coding knowledge to make the edits, but the edits will continue to be compatible across all types of devices and screens.

As mentioned earlier, the reflowable feature enhances compatibility tremendously. Additionally, as compared to PDF conversion, more open source and paid ePUB editors are available online.

Adding Media

ePUBs offer features to add interactive and engaging media for the readers. It is possible to do so in PDFs, but it highly depends on your editing software and platform.

With ePUBs, media can be easily added through almost all editing platforms. Media like audio files, video files, infographics, graphs, pie charts, etc., are compatible with ePUB files.

Security and Protection

Multi-layer security and protection features like passwords, pins, email verification, etc., can be embedded into ePUB files. In case the reader forgets the security pin or password, it can be recovered through ePUB recovery software.

DRM protection can also be combined with ePUB files to offer additional security features like inhibiting copying of text, specific VPN login, specifying a reading time, and much more.

Digital Libraries

Major digital libraries like Amazon Kindle, Apple, Sony Reader, Kobo, etc. do not accept PDFs other than their own. However, all of them do recognize and read ePUBs.

If readers want to add a free book to these digital libraries, they can simply do so by adding the ePUB file.

Free Convertors

Numerous free and paid PDF to ePUB converters are available online. Once the file has been converted to ePUB, it can easily be converted to other formats as well, like MOBI, AZW3, LRF, DOC, DOCX, etc.


Although the advantages of ePUB are much more vast than PDF, the final verdict comes down to personal choice and requirements.

PDF is a universal digital version of a book but offers limited accessibility. ePUB textbooks are not as common but can be easily modified and circulated. When it comes to publishing, ePUB is preferred as it offers more sizing and alignment controls.

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand two major formats of digital books and files. We recommend you do some more research in case you are still confused about the strengths and advantages of ePUBs.

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Mike Harman

Mike Harman

Mike is the SVP Business Development at KITABOO. He has over 30 years experience in achieving consistent top-line revenue growth and building mutually beneficial relationships. More posts by Mike Harman