Publishing eBooks: What do you need to know about formats?

 In Tips & Tricks

ebook-formatsPublishing an eBook not only means that you need content inside (and to work on it to make it a good one) but you also need to get the actual “eBooks file” the virtual object itself. Because you need an object adapted to your content, to the people who are going to read it and to the device they’re going to read it on, there are a few things you need to know.

This is the post to clarify what are ePubs, what’s the difference with eBook, and then there is FXL, .mobi, PDF and all this gibberish hard to go through when you aren’t tech-savvy.

  • First, remember that an eBook = digital book. All the specificity like ePub, FXL, etc. are different version of the “virtual book” like you would have different version of a printed book (hardcover, paperback, etc.)
  • Then, you need to know that there is basically one eBook standard format: ePub, and a format specific for Kindle eReaders: mobi.


  • Finally, you need to know that each format has a version adapted to a specific type of book content to provide a good reading experience on all devices. While the “normal” formats (ePub2, mobi) are built to adapt the text disposition to the device and user of the book, so it’s nice to read whatever the size of the screen or the font size chosen by the reader (that’s what we call “reflowable”), the Fixed Layout format make sure the content is always in the same disposition to make sure it always makes sense: it’s particularly relevant for books where text isn’t the main content (children’s books, comic books, complex scholar books…)
    The ePub Fixed Layout format is conveniently called ePUB3 FXL, the mobi Fixed Layout format is not-so-conveniently called KF8. (If you need to remember it, thinks that it’s the 8th Kindle Format.). Apple also has a specific format adapted to Fixed Layout: ibooks. Each Fixed Layout is detailed on our Help Center.
  • Last but not least, you need to know is you can get each of these formats easily through StreetLib!

If you have a doubt on whether your book should get a reflowable or a fixed layout format read our Help Center article on the topic.

These are the most important formats to know about and we highly recommend focusing on them. Nevertheless, it’s true that eBooks can be read in PDF and some other formats

Ok, with this you have the basics.

How do you easily get your manuscript in the format you need?

I have two answers for you and, because things are great that way, there is already a post on the blog about it: Discover StreetLib Write (our DIY free option) and StreetLib Edit (our professional extra services).

If you’d like to get more information about formats, I’d recommend going to our help center and just type “formats” in the search: there is a lot of content there to enlighten you! And if you don’t find what you need, please ask! We’ll not only do our best to answer asap but also use your question to improve our help center!

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  • Andrè M. Pietroschek

    Knowing the limitations of Street Lib Write I was not enjoying to read this. But the one thing I am really used to is partners, friends, allies, and mates who turn out to be a damn bad choice precisely when I am weakened or busy fighting for my life.

    • AC de Fombelle

      Hi Andrè,
      What limitations in StreetLib Write were a problem for your eBook formatting? We work our best to improve all our tools and the best way to do so is to know what are the things we should improve or fix. That’s why feedback from real users is our daily bread. Please tell us what you are unhappy with so we can make sure to make you happy again. Thanks and have a great day!

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