How to Format an eBook for Publishing

If you have read my earlier post on benefits of publishing an eBook, then the next step is to learn how to do it. And the very first step in self publishing is knowing how to format an ebook or format your manuscript into an eBook version.

So what are the acceptable formats for an eBook?

As of now, there are two formats that are available in the publishing market, namely:

– .mobi if you choose to publish on Amazon through Createspace

– .ePub for all other eBook stores

Now there are two options to edit and lay out your manuscript and you have to select the option which works best for you. You have to remember, in choosing between these options, you have to consider your knowledge, your availability and your budget. These are major factors in choosing which option to select.

Option 1: Do-it-Yourself formatting

This means that you have to create the layout of the eBook from scratch. If you are a techy and you easily learn techy stuffs, then this could be a great option for you.

how to format an ebook


There are several benefits in doing your own layout for your book. Here are some of the benefits that you could consider in going down this road;

  1. Saves money. If you don’t want to pay extra for a layout artist, then this is the best option for you.
  2. More editing. As you go on doing the layout of your eBook, it would not be help that you would see some other mistakes that might be in the book, e.g., spelling or grammar slips. If you do your layout, you have a chance to another round of editing.
  3. Adding contents. Aside from editing, you also have the chance to add more parts in to your book, if you see it necessary.
  4. Updates are manageable. If you are a prolific writer, you will have the urge to write and write and therefore, upload and upload new eBooks every time. Now, if you are an author of a book series, you usually change some parts of your back matter from time to time. If you do this, you have to change it in all the other uploaded materials. When outsourcing your book formatting, you will have to pay for the updates every time you change it, while if you do it yourself, it’s free and it’s fast.

Where there are advantages, there are always disadvantages. It’s always a two-edged sword, the yin and the yang. This still holds true even in doing your own eBook formatting. So what are the disadvantages?

  1. Takes time. Even if you are already a pro in formatting or you’re just starting out, you can agree that it will definitely take your time in doing this. If you are just starting out, you will have to learn from scratch and that would definitely take a lot of time. So you have to consider. Do you have the time to spare to be doing the layout? If you are pressed for time, then this is not the option for you.
  2. Takes longer. Unless you are a pro in doing book layouts, it would definitely take a lot of time to complete the layout. That means, you will not be able to publish the eBook right away. Now, if you have a deadline that you are going after, then this is definitely not the best time to choose DIY formatting.

What to use in DIY formatting?

For doing your own eBook format, you have the option to choose from the following;

  • Vellum – for Mac users.
  • Jutoh – for Windows PC users.
  • Scrivener – available for Mac and Windows PC.

There are more options if you search online.

Option 2: Hiring a Professional Layout Artist

Based on the information provided above, you should know by now the benefits of hiring a professional to format your book – no need to expound further on that.

If you would choose to go this path, here’s a list of book formatters recommended by Joanna Penn of

We hope that this article helped you decide which path to take and makes publishing your eBook easier for you. Cheers to your success!