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ePub vs PDF: What's the Difference?
ePub vs PDF: What's the Difference?

ePub vs PDF: What's the Difference?

by Alexa Davis
Sep 8, 2022

As electronic books are becoming increasingly popular among both readers and writers, there’s often a debate about ePub vs PDF. Both formats are top choices when it comes to saving eBooks, but which one is better? Let’s take a look.

What is ePub?

The ePub format is easy to spot with its .epub file extension. Most often, this format is used for electronic book storage as well as other content. ePub is short for electronic publication and in 2007, the IDPF (International Digital Publishing Forum) called it the official standard.

In addition to storing text, ePubs can store content tables, images, metadata details, and style sheets. ePub files are layout independent, which means the formatting isn’t affected by the screen size. These files can even be displayed on a 3.5” screen. For these reasons, most eReader devices support this format.

ePub VS PDF: ePub main features

  • Text size is adjusted according to the screen size.
  • XML-based.
  • Easy to quick scan via the library.
  • Digital Rights Management (DRM) protection is available.

What is a PDF?

Portable Document Format (PDF) files have been around since the 1990s were designed to be transferable between devices without formatting issues and visual changes. With PDFs, the layout and format will always be the same as in the original document.

ePub VS PDF: PDF format's main features

  • Text size is not affected by the screen size.
  • Two file types – Scanned PDF (image-based), and Native PDF (searchable & partly editable).
  • Collaboration with interactive elements is possible.
  • Certificates and passwords can be added to protect the file.
  • PDFs support multimedia like 3D and audio.

PDF vs ePub: What do they have in common?

Both PDFs and ePubs are highly compatible and are in an open-file format. This means that you can read them both on a variety devices and platforms, so it doesn’t matter if you’re using Windows, Linux, or macOS. These formats both also work on e-readers and tablets including Kindles, iPads, and Android tablets like Galaxy Tabs. What’s more, both PDFs and ePubs are interactive, which allows users to engage more in their reading.

What are the benefits of ePub?

ePub files are very interactive. For example, you can add notes, highlight text, and include hyperlinks. You can also add animations and slideshows with buttons to control them.

What are the benefits of PDF?

With PDFs, there’s also fantastic interactivity built-in. People can include hyperlinks, or links to other pages within the document, include navigation buttons, hide or reveal content, create forms with fillable text fields, embed video and audio, highlight, comment on, and annotate the text.

If a document is going to be printed, PDF is certainly the best format as its design will always be the same as it is in its digital format. This is different from ePubs, which change layout when they print – this might be why the majority of ePub readers don’t connect to printers.

ePub vs PDF: the final verdict

It’s clear to see why both ePubs and PDFs are popular formats for files like eBooks. When comparing ePub vs PDF, if universality is what you need, PDF is the format to go for. Many devices are able to view and open PDFs and the document will always look like the original, which is often important. Also, if you want to share documents that can’t be modified, PDFs are the best choice.

In many cases, you might need to change an ePub file to a versatile PDF, and there’s a simple solution to do so. We have a free online ePub to PDF converter, which doesn't watermark your files and keeps them secure according to the Privacy Policy.

If your created file turned out to be too large - shrink its size right away with the “Compress PDF” tool.

Or use the Watermark tool to protect the copyrights of your documents in 2 steps.

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