ePub2 or ePub3: Which one is the best for eBook Conversion?

ePub2 or ePub3

eBooks, a revolutionary invention that not only is changing the way we read but is also saving trees. Did you know that at least 30 million trees were cut last year to produce textbooks? eBooks made it possible for us to access our favorite book from any part of the world at any time. Currently, the most popular format for eBooks in ePub, ePub stands for electronic publication. 

eBooks are still a new thing for many users. Therefore, before we dive deep into discussing which version is better, we will cover the basics related to ePub.

How to Open ePub Files?

Now that you know about ePub, the next question is how to access them. Just like any document, you need some application to open them. One of the easiest applications to use is Adobe Digital Editions (ADE), you can use it on both MAC and Windows.

Open the application

  • Go to the File menu and select Add library
  • Go to the destination of your downloaded ePub file
  • Select it to open it

Here are some more applications to access ePub on your Windows or Mac device.

The Best Places to Buy eBooks

Here are the best places to buy ePub books online legally.


The OG of eBooks that has been there for 20 years, you can find almost any eBook here. It is one of the largest eBook libraries across the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Europe. It also acts as an eBook reader, so you don’t need an extra application to read your favorite book.


The place where shopping comes alive, Amazon is a place where you can not only buy eBooks but do much more. Amazon has its own device to read eBooks called Kindle, where you can read unlimited books with a nominal fee of $8.99/ month. Unfortunately, even though you can download eBooks from Amazon, it is in AZW format which you have to convert to ePub. 

Apple Books

If you are a Mac user then this might be the best place for you to buy eBooks. Unlike Amazon, eBooks are not free here, you need to pay per book. Furthermore, it is available only on Mac and iOS and you can’t access it from any non-apple devices legally. 

How to Load Free eBooks on Your Amazon Kindle?

The good news is that Amazon Kindle allows you to read eBooks outside its ecosystem. However, there is a catch: you need to convert your eBook according to Kindle’s requirements. Let us first learn about the popular eBook formats available for download. eBooks are usually available in ePub, PDF, Mobi formats. 

The best way to put books on your Kindle is through your email. 

  • Go to www.amazon.com/myk using your PC’s Web browser like Chrome, Firefox, etc
  • Tap on “Your Devices”, select the relevant device from the gallery below
  • Note down the Kindle’s email ID next to the email
  • Next click on settings and select “Add a new approved e-mail address,”
  • Now add your desired email address that you plan to send your books.

The Kindle supports Mobi and PDF formats, so you can send them directly without any additional steps. Keep in mind that if your PDF contains graphics and text, the text size might be too small for you to read. In that case, just change the subject line to convert and you can resize text and graphics. However, the converted file will not retain the original layout and formatting.

Unfortunately, if your eBook is in ePub format, you have to convert it into Mobi or AZW format for your Kindle. Many free websites can convert the book to Kindle-supported formats. However, they come with restrictions such as minor changes in formatting, layout and including junk or unrecognized characters. These minor changes may not affect an average reader, but it is a huge difference when you think of educational books provided to students in technical courses.

Which eBook Conversion format is more popular: ePub2 or ePub3? And why?

ePub 2 is the older format and was adopted by most organizations as their standard eBook format. However, ePub 2 offers minimal controls for formatting text and images to its users. On the other hand, ePub 3 does a much better job when it comes to formatting text and images. Furthermore, it also provides more control for media and scripting enhancements. 

Now, big companies have adopted ePub 3 as their eBook standard. While ePub 2 enjoyed worldwide popularity as it supported most reading systems, ePub 3 now is gradually gaining a foothold in the digital world.

Read: Essential Tips for creating Accessible ePub 3 files

Can ePub 3.0 be viewed on ePub 2 Reader?

Yes, ePub 3.0 can be easily viewed on ePub 2 devices. It just needs small changes such as adding an NCX (menu) file and a guide section in the OPF file. Unfortunately, ePub 2 readers aren’t compatible with multimedia such as videos, animation,etc. So you have to restrict yourself to reading non-interactive eBooks.

Luckily, ePub 2 files can be viewed on ePub 3 reading systems. Therefore, all you need is a good ePub 3 reader and you can have a library in your pocket.

Changes in ePub3

Here are some major changes in ePub 3

  • Added support for Multimedia and MathML
  • SVG documents can now appear in the spine in ePub 3
  • The simplified content switching process 
  • Mandated reading systems to support OpenType and WOFF font formats.
  • Added Media overlays and Text-to-speech
  • Disallowed characters in the OCF list has been extended

ePub 3 also removed some features from ePub 2, they are:

  • DTBook
  • Out-of-Line XML Islands
  • Tours
  • Filesystem Container
  • Guide
  • NCX
  • 2.0.1 meta element

Click here to know all the changes made in ePub 3

Our world is gradually making its way towards a paperless future and eBooks are the best way of doing your part. Although most companies used to produce eBooks in ePub 2 because of its reach, it is starting to change. Now, ePub 3 readers are preferred by most users because of their accessibility features and backward compatibility with ePub 2.  

The latest update, ePub 3.2 has features such as improved accessibility support, adding the WOFF 2.0 and SFNT font formats as Core Media Type Resources, etc. makes it easier to use. Are you ready for the change?

AEL Data has dedicated teams that specialize and support the entire content lifecycle of both traditional and digital publishing. Our experts will help you to develop the eBook that supports all major platforms on any medium: digital, mobile, or print.

Picture of Aditya Bikkani

Aditya Bikkani

Aditya is the COO of AELData, a growing technology company in the Digital Publishing and Education sectors. He is also an entrepreneur and founder of an accessibility tool called LERA. A W3C COGA (Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility) Community Member Aditya contributes to researching methodologies to improve web accessibility and usability for people with cognitive and learning disabilities.

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