What file formats do I need for Self-Publishing?

An author asked me this question recently, and I believe it’s one that should be highlighted. Sometimes it can get confusing knowing what files are required for different publishers and retailers. So it here it is: a simple, straight-forward outline for files needed for self-publishing.

File formats for eBooks: 

  • ePub2 (.ePub): the free-flowing standard with eBooks; you will definitely need your book saved as .ePub as most retailers use it.
  • ePub3 (.ePub): the newer, updated .ePub standard which supports free-flowing text as well as fixed layout books. The newer standard also supports footnotes and endnotes. Most retailers change to this newer format, so you may also need this version.
  • mobi (.mobi): this eBook format is only used by Amazon for their Kindle reader and you would need this as well or you could upload an .ePub when publishing to Amazon and they will convert it automatically.
  • pdf (.pdf): fixed layout; very common for documents but not for an an actual eBook format. However, you would need this if you plan to publish a print version of your book. Your printing service provider will require the .pdf file to print your book. 

What are retailers using? 

  • Amazon: .mobi for kindle and .pdf for print-on-demand (POD)
  • Google: .epub (ePub2 and ePub3) or .pdf 
  • Apple: .epub (ePub3 only) 
  • Kobo: .epub (ePub2 and ePub3) 
  • Barnes & Noble: .epub (ePub2 and ePub3) and .pdf for print-on-demand (POD)

If you have any more questions or need help with self-publishing, feel free to send me a personalized connection request. I’ll be happy to help!

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