Major Differences Between EPUB vs

Discover the major contrasts between EPUB and PDF formats, including their features, compatibility, and usability. Learn which format suits your needs best for reading and sharing digital documents.

Discover the major contrasts between EPUB and PDF formats, including their features, compatibility, and usability. Learn which format suits your needs best for reading and sharing digital documents.


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EPUB vs. PDF: Their Major


The ever-increasing popularity of eBooks is making many avid readers ditch

physical books. It can be said that eBooks are revolutionary for so many reasons,

especially for their portability and flexibility.

eBooks are being published in various file formats like EPUB and PDF so that

readers are never in trouble while consuming their favorite books online.

However, eBooks have also started a debate between the two most popular file

formats – EPUB and PDF.

Both are great choices for consuming eBook content, but some big differences

exist. In this article, we will discuss each file format and understand the comparison

between EPUB vs. PDF.

All You Need To Know About EPUB: Key

Features, Benefits, and Drawbacks

Published in the year 2007 by IDPF (International Digital Publishing Forum), EPUB is

short for Electronic Publishing.

EPUB refers to the publishing of journals, articles, magazines, and, most

importantly, eBooks. This format is very popular among eBook readers because of

its high compatibility.

Key Features

Text size automatically gets adjusted depending on screen size.


Comes with DRM protection


EPUB files can be easily modified by making changes in HTML codes.

EPUB files are reflowable. However, if one doesn't want a reflowable format,

they can click on the 'fixed-layout' option on their file.

Comes with DRM (Digital Rights Management) protection.

Media files can be easily added for eBooks.


One needs to learn about the basics of coding languages to create and

modify this kind of file.

All You Need to Know About PDF: Key Features,

Benefits, and Drawbacks

PDF, also known as the Portable Document Format, was created in the 90s to share

documents between devices without worrying about formatting issues.

In a PDF, the format and layout of the document remain unchanged regardless of

the device it is viewed on.

Key Features

Screen size does not affect the text size of documents.

It is possible to collaborate with interactive elements.

Multimedia, like audio and 3D, is supported.

You can use passwords to protect PDF files.

Offers two kinds of files – Scanned PDF and Native PDF.


● The content of a PDF file remains unchanged even when viewed from

different devices, software, and operating system.

● PDF files are universally accepted and are very convenient.

● PDF files are very compact.

● The process of creating a PDF file is very simple.

● PDF content can be protected with passwords.


It is hard to make changes in a PDF file. To modify a PDF file, one has to buy

costly editing software.

Extracting information from a PDF takes a lot of time.

You cannot change the font size of a PDF document; you have to zoom in to

view it properly.

EPUB Vs. PDF: The Key Differences

In the battle of EPUB vs. PDF, the first huge difference readers find is the users'

reading experience. Reading a PDF file is a lot like reading a piece of paper on your

screen—you will see the file in its exact original format.

Reading PDFs can be a bit challenging for readers who use devices with small

screens. On the other hand, reading an EPUB file is not an issue even for readers

with small-screened devices – EPUB files are reflowable, which allows them to

adjust to the dimensions of all screen sizes.

This one standout feature is what makes EPUB a preferred choice among readers


Read on to learn more about the key differences between EPUB and PDF.


Some PDF tools allow you to annotate your PDFs, highlight texts, and more, but

you will need to pay extra money to make your PDF files more accessible.

This is not an issue with EPUB files—you can easily edit and modify this file format

by making some small changes to the HTML code.

Rich Media

PDF 2.0 has brought in some serious updates, but it is still in tough competition

with EPUB when it comes to the factor of rich media.

Unlike PDF, EPUB allows interactive media, hyperlinks, video content, and much

more to enhance users' reading experience.


Many PDF tools allow users to eSign a document to mark their ownership. Apart

from that, one can even use passwords for PDF files to limit accessibility.

On the other hand, EPUBs don't offer the features described above to their users.


Even though the EPUB files have more features to offer, PDF services are way

higher in number.

When it comes to popularity, EPUB is yet to reach the level of PDF.


The code for EPUB is written using two languages – XHTML and XML. This makes

EPUB compatible with most software and highly accessible regardless of the device.

On the other hand, a PDF file has complex code, making it quite hard for developers

to include add-ons. Not to mention, converting a PDF file into web-friendly formats

is also a very lengthy and complicated process.


As previously discussed, one can set passwords on PDF files to limit accessibility.

Even though it's a great feature, it's not completely reliable. One can easily remove

passwords from a PDF document using password recovery software.

This is not the case with an EPUB file – these files come with DRM protection, which

doesn't let users share them without permission.

If you create an EPUB file, only you can grant others permission to read it or give

them a specific time period to access the content of the document. DRM protection

ensures that the content of the file does not get stolen.

To Conclude

It's not an easy task to pick a favorite between PDF and EPUB file formats, but if

you are a reader, you might give some bonus points to EPUB format because of its

reflowable nature, DRM protection, and many other features.

For eBook conversion, retailers generally prefer EPUB more than other file

formats because it was designed to support eBooks and enhance the reading


However, the PDF format receives extra points if the universality factor is

considered. So, both of these file formats win if you use them wisely.

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