What Is an EPUB File?

EPUB is the most popular file format for digital books

EPUB Files
EPUB Files.

The EPUB file format (short for electronic publication) is an e-book format with the extension .epub. You can download EPUB files and read them on your smartphone, tablet, e-reader or computer. This freely available e-book standard supports more hardware e-book readers than any other file format.

EPUB 3.1 is the latest EPUB version. It supports embedded interactivity, audio, and video.

How to Open an EPUB File

EPUB files can be opened in most e-book readers, including the B&N NookKobo eReader, and Apple's iBooks app.

EPUB files have to be converted before they're usable on the Amazon Kindle.

EPUB files can also be opened on a computer with several free programs, such as Calibre, Adobe Digital Editions, iBooksEPUB File Reader, Stanza Desktop, Okular, Sumatra PDF, and many more.

Plenty of iPhone and Android apps exist that allow viewing of EPUB files. There's even a Firefox Add-on (EPUBReader) and Chrome app (Simple EPUB Reader) that allow you to read EPUB files in the browser just like other documents.

Google Play Books is another place you can open EPUB files by uploading the EPUB file to your Google account and viewing it through the web client.

Since EPUB files are structured like ZIP files, you can rename an EPUB e-book, replacing .epub with .zip, and then open the file with your favorite file compression program, like the free 7-Zip tool. Inside you should find the contents of the EPUB e-book in HTML format, as well as the images and styles used to create the EPUB file.

 The EPUB file format supports embedding files such as GIFPNGJPG, and SVG images.

Note: Some EPUB files are DRM-protected, which means they can only open on certain devices that have been authorized to view the book. If you can't open the e-book using some of the programs above, you might look into whether the book is protected in that way so you can better understand how to open it.

How to Convert an EPUB File

Since most computers don't have a default program for opening EPUB files, they don't have one that converts EPUB files. Methods for converting EPUB files include:

  • Calibre is the premier program for converting an EPUB file to another format. It converts to and from most other e-book formats, including ones compatible with the Amazon Kindle. Some of the supported conversions include EPUB to FB2, HTML, LIT, LRF, MOBI, PDF, PDB, RTF, TXT, and SNB.
  • Using the Online eBook Converter is another way to quickly create an EPUB file from another format such as AZW, TCR, and others, through an online conversion service. The site also has ePub Converter so that you can convert other file types, such as PDF, to the EPUB format. This is a super-simple way to create an e-book from your original document file.
  • Zamzar is another online EPUB converter worth mentioning. You can use the website to convert the EPUB file to PDF, TXT, FB2, and other similar text formats.

You can try to convert an EPUB file by opening it in one of the other e-book readers and choosing to save or export the open file as another file format, although this is probably not as effective as using Calibre or the online converters.

If none of those methods work, check out other File Conversion Software programs.

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