Best eBook Formatting Software

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EBooks are one of the latest trends in the writing world because you can easily self-publish your book without help from a big company. You can sell on Amazon and other websites too. However, formatting an eBook is much different than formatting for a physical book. There may be a few programs that can help you get the format just right, but you will want to know exactly how to do it yourself.

Many writers choose to use Microsoft Word to do their eBook formatting, but there are many other choices. You will want to research a few programs that allow you to create a sleek and easy-to-read design that stays consistent throughout the whole book.


What Software Should You Use For Book Formatting?

Although you can do it through your Microsoft program, it may be easier to use an outside software that can help you make sense of the details you need. You need to figure out things like spacing, font size, numbering pages, and more. Doing it on your own without a step-by-step can be challenging, and you may forget important aspects.

InDesign eBook formatting software
image credit: InDesign


This is an app that is from the makers of photoshop called Adobe. This app is for professionals and typesetters who need extra features.  If you plan on using this app, you will need to experiment and practice with the program to get the formatting just the way you want. There is a learning curve.

However, one drawback of this particular program is that it is hard to use. Price may bring another concern. It is one of the most expensive eBook formatting tools, but it is good for those who plan on publishing multiple books.

scrivener eBook formatting
image credit: literatureandlatte


If you need to keep notes on structure and organization, this app is the best for you. Writers love this functional tool and continue to use it because of how practical it is. The latest version lets you focus on nouns, verbs, and more so you can learn what your writing habits are. It has tons of features, including eBook formatting. However, if you are unsure, you want the extra features to try out the free version first.

Vellum home page
image credit: Vellum


This is an excellent app for anyone who has a Macbook. However, that is also the biggest drawback of this app, it is only available to Macbook customers. The most significant advantage of this app is that it has a smaller learning curve, and it’s straightforward to work with. They have beautiful formats you can choose from, and they do have an option to export a printable book for a small fee.

Microsoft Word

This is probably one of the easiest ways to format an eBook. Though many people already have MS, it does cost money. They have an annual fee of $100, and the other thing you have to watch out for is that it does not export epub files. This can cause books to look bad or have bad formatting.

However, if you are self-publishing or paying someone else to publish for you, most will accept Microsoft documents and convert them for you. MS is a great writing tool, but it is the least advisable way to format your eBook.

Reedsy eBook formatting tool
image credit: Reedsy

Reedsy Book Editor

This company put together a team that worked together to create a book production tool. This tool allows authors to put together a perfectly formatted manuscript that can help organize their books before sending them to publishers.

The publishing industry sets very high standards for books and eBooks. This tool was created to meet those high standards and be easy for people to use. You don’t need any background on design work, no need to install software and unlimited exports.

The truth is there are now tons of programs you can use that will help you format your eBook. Not all of them are easy to use, and some may have a slight learning curve. The important thing is to keep experimenting until you find the best match.

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Tips For Formatting Your Ebook

You can choose software to help you format and edit your books, but there are some valuable tips you should keep in mind. Not all software is made equally, and there are some bad options. Keep these tips in mind when you start looking at software.


The first thing to keep in mind is your budget and what you need to accomplish. Many of the expensive programs you can use have tons of features. However, do you really need all of those features? You may just need the basics, and this is something you should keep in mind. There are plenty of free eBook formatting programs with basic tools that will still convert your file to ePub.

Focus On The Front and Back

One thing that people often forget to work on is the front and back of the book. Focus on the copyright pages, title pages, table of contents if needed, and dedication pages. You will need to find a program that can help you style and format these pages to look professional. These are the bones of your book and can be essential pieces to focus on though they are often overlooked.

Keep The Font and Spacing Simple

We love fancy fonts, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy or good to read. Most of us read for enjoyment, and if we are squinting trying to read the text, it takes the fun out of it. Something easy and classic is always better than fancy cursive. Stick with something like Times New Roman, Arial, or Georgia for successful eBook formatting. These are all classics, and the style looks professional.

The next thing to keep in mind when eBook formatting is spacing. Double spacing may make the eBook way too long and hard to read. Stick with anything under 1.5 line spacing. This is also what will help give the book a professional feel it. You want to ensure that it has smooth transitions, and the spacing will help keep the reader’s flow going.

eBook formatting
Photo by Rishikesh Sreehari on Unsplash

Never Use Highlight

There will be important pieces of your book in the text, but you should never highlight the text. This may be a tempting option because you know it will help your reader pick up on the hints. However, it’s not a suitable method.

If you want to highlight a meaningful word or emphasize a phrase, stick with bold or italics. This isn’t a textbook, and even if it was, it’s the reader’s job to read and understand where to pick up clues. It is your job to convey the message and not to highlight what you want them to see.

What Are The Different Types of Formatting?

This article focused mainly on ePub, but there are actually other ways to convert your file. EPub may be one of the main ways to convert a file because it can be used on any device other than kindle, but you should know the other ways to create an eBook and what they are best suited for.

PDF eBooks

This version of an eBook is great for people who are reading books on their laptops or computers. However, this is not good for tablets or smartphones, and the formatting may not convert to that style. This is one of the cheapest ways to create an eBook and, honestly, the easiest way. It is great for beginners. However, somewhere in the bio or description, you may want to add for computers only.

MOBI eBooks

This is a version that is meant for the Kindle. It has all the tools you need to create a perfect book for the Kindle. This is a popular device, suitable and your book is sure to be a hit when you use this software.

IBA eBooks

This is a program meant for only Apple products. It is not for universal e-readers, which can be the biggest drawback. However, this program does support videos, images, and even audio. This can be a great choice if you want to focus on doing Apple products.

You may be wondering how you are supposed to pick a format and style? The truth is you need to evaluate who your target reader is and that will help you decide what file to convert it to. If you know your readers are young adults obsessed with Kindle and Amazon, that’s what will determine what file you should use and what to convert to.

Do You Know The Difference Between a Manuscript and Book?

The format of the eBook is what your readers will see at the end. However, if you plan on going to a publisher, you will want to understand how to format a manuscript. Are they the same? No, they are slightly different. A manuscript is how you format your book to look for publishers. This is what they will base their first impressions on, and if it’s sloppy, they will not even look at it.

The readability of your final eBook will be dependent on how well your manuscript is put together. This is the first step to getting a book deal, letting early readers in on your book, and ensuring that it is organized well enough to become a book. Formatting your manuscript is something that should never be overlooked. It is just as important as formatting your finished book.

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How Much Should eBook formatting Cost?

There is really no set price for eBook formatting anymore. Some people choose to do everything themselves and convert their book for free. Others want the extra features and pay for a tool to help them format and look at words.

The price for eBook formatting can be anywhere from 0-$2,500. Most of us new authors can’t afford that price, and some tools can help you for $50, and some professionals understand those tools and will do it for $200. You will have to shop around multiple places until you find one that suits your needs and is within your budget.

Remember, just because something is more expensive does not make it the best option. You can have a beautiful eBook for less than $100.

What About Book Covers?

Book covers are often what authors first jump to when they think about eBook formatting. Not many authors also have graphic design or photography skills. It may be best to pay someone for a really good eBook cover. You will have to come up with a theme and enticing image you want for the cover.

This is another price that you may want to skip, but book covers are often what readers base their first judgment on. It can be worth the cost to have someone else create it and add it to your finished eBook. This can be anywhere from $200-$500, depending on what you need and what file it should be converted to.

Final Thoughts

eBook formatting takes practice, and not all authors excel in this area. Professional services can help you edit and convert the book to the correct format. Still, they will cost more than doing it independently. The world loves eBooks, and there are tools that you can experiment with to do it by yourself and still get a professional-looking electronic book.

Is a PDF tile an eBook?

Though a PDF is considered an electronic file, you may have written an entire book that way; it is still not considered an eBook. When people are talking about eBooks, they are talking about reading it a specific way on a particular type of file even if they do not realize it.

Can I turn my eBook into a print?

There are now tools that can help eBook authors prepare their books for print. It will need to be formatted a different way, but it is totally possible. You can now be an eBook author as well as get a few printed copies of your book.

Are there cheap ways to create an eBook cover?

Some websites can help you make cheaper eBook covers, but they won’t be intricate. PlaceIt is a subscription service that allows you to create custom eBook covers with simple backgrounds that can be uploaded to Amazon or elsewhere. You will have to pay close attention to the file it converts to.

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