Best Book Formatting Software: 2024 [+ Discounts]

Having written 10+ books in fiction and nonfiction, I've had my share of formatting experiences.

I started with expensive professional formatters, but when I needed to make future edits, this option became tedious and even more expensive.

After turning to getting my own book formatting software, I jumped around from different types, testing to see what is the best book formatting software for authors. Since then, I've used all kinds from free book formatting software to paid. Because of this, I've seen every type of formatting process out there.

So, in this article, I'm going to list my favorite ebook and book formatting software from best to worse.

In this article, you will learn:
  1. What is book formatting?
  2. Book formatting vs. manuscript formatting
  3. Best software for formatting books and eBooks
  4. Best file format for exporting your book

Links in this article may give me a small commission if you use them to purchase products. There’s NO extra cost to you, and it helps me continue to write valuable articles like this one. Also, Atticus is owned by Dave Chesson, also the owner of Kindlepreneur, though I have done my best to objectively evaluate Atticus on this list, but the features and numbers are pretty non-biased and objective.

Best Softwares for Formatting Books and eBooks

Let's start by going over the top book formatting options out there, with a quick blurb on some of their significant features. Then after that list, I'll do a specific review on each (with pictures) to help you learn a bit more about each option:

ProgramEase of UseCapabilityCostCheck It Out
Atticus
atticus logo icon
EasyMedium
  • $147/lifetime
Check It Out
Vellum
EasyMedium
  • $199.99 — ebook only
  • $249.99 — ebook/print
Check It Out
Kindle Create

EasyLow
  • Free
Check It Out
Microsoft Word
DifficultLow
  • $99.99 Annual
Check It Out
Scrivener
DifficultLow
  • $59.99 for Windows or Mac
Check It Out
Reedsy

EasyLow
  • Free — no premium version
Check It Out

So, as you can see, the following are considered by the best book formatting software:

  1. Atticus
  2. Vellum
  3. Kindle Create
  4. MS Word
  5. Scrivener

Now, let's go head and dig a bit deeper in each to see why they were ranked that way.

#1. Atticus: Editors Choice

Atticus - the #1 Book Writing and Formatting Software used by thousands of authors.

Let's start this off with my favorite book formatting software, Atticus. Not only is it incredible at fomratting your book, it is super intuitive and easy to use.

But that's not all. Unlike a lot of other formatting options in this list, Atticus was not only built to be an amazing book formatting software, it is also an excellent option to write your book in it as well. This way, you can easily write and then format, instead of having to write in one software, and then format in another. Talk about a head ache. Plus, pretty soon, it will allow you to collaborate – so you can work with a co-writer or editor all in one program.

So, with this in mind, Atticus was basically built to be a combination of the best parts of Vellum, Google Docs, and Scrivener, and can format beautiful ebooks and print books. To learn more about Atticus, you can read my full review of Atticus here.

I thoroughly recommend Atticus for book formatting above Vellum because of the difference in price, as well as Atticus' upcoming features that will make it the best all-in-one tool for authors and not just formatting.

Other than the fact that Atticus is a newer software, and therefore not all features were immediately available at launch, there are literally no downsides to Atticus. It does everything Vellum can do and more.

Word Processor in Atticus

Its word processor is also a huge benefit, one that is geared to eventually serve as the only word processor you need, with writing goals and different writing modes attached.

Atticus offers these intuitive benefits and innovative formatting options:

  • Far more affordable than the leading alternatives
  • Available on all conceivable platforms
  • Easy to use
  • Contains all the major features of Vellum, with more on the way
  • A dynamic theme builder
  • Works as a formatting software and as a word processor
  • A stellar support team

Ready to get started with my favorite book formatting software? Get Atticus today.

Print Previewer Atticus
Theme Generator in Atticus

Pros to Atticus:

  • Easy to Use
  • No subscription fees
  • Can create both ebooks and books
  • Over 1,000 fonts to choose from
  • Has a custom chapter theme builder
  • Over $100 cheaper than the leading alternative
  • Works on all platforms (Mac, PC, Chromebook, etc)
  • Has H1-H6 (especially good for nonfiction writers)

Cons to Atticus:

  • Does not have dark mode
Check Out Atticus Here!

#2. Vellum

For years, Vellum was the most loved formatting software on the market. It is a fantastic tool, and made creating professional looking books very easy. However, it was with its problems. First, it only worked on a Mac (so anyone with a PC was out of luck). Also, it was always extremely expensive compared to other software.

But regardless of that, authors would still find ways to use it and pay the asking price.

Then, Atticus showed up. Now, through Atticus, authors can get the same level of Vellum, but have it work on all computers, and get it for over $102 cheaper. It is for this reason that Vellum is #2 on the list. To learn more about Vellum you can check out my full review here.

There are 2 significant downsides to Vellum:

  1. It’s only available for Mac computers, not Windows computers or any mobile devices
  2. It has a lofty price tag ($199.99 for eBook publishing, or $249.99 for eBook and print book publishing)

And while you can technically write a book in Vellum, you probably wouldn't want to. Vellum was not designed to be a place in which to write…only to format.

So, in the end, because it is $102 more expensive than Atticus, and doesn't have as many features – nor is it a good option to write in, Vellum gets my second place for book formatting software.

Pros to Vellum:

  • Easy to Use
  • No subscription fees
  • Can create both ebooks and books
  • Has a custom chapter theme builder

Cons to Vellum:

  • Only works on Mac
  • Most expensive of the options
  • Only has 26 fonts to choose from
  • Does not have footnotes, callout boxes
  • Does not have formatting for H2-H6
Check It Out

#3. Kindle Create

Kindle Create screenshot of formatting options.

Ah, Kindle Create…honestly, this could have been something but really falls short. Back in the day (like YEARS AGO), Amazon made Kindle Create as a way for authors to format their books – back when there were many options out there.

However, since then, new options have shown up and Amazon hasn't done anything to help, improve or fix Kindle Create.

Does it work? Yes…sort of. Does it give you great options to make something amazing? No. Heck, Amazon even makes it clear that Kindle Create is not great for books with images, tables, footnotes, endnotes, or customized fonts.

Not to mention it's not easy to use. I created a video showing you how you can format a book with Kindle Create. As you can see, it's a bit of a task and doesn't have a lot of options authors need.

But it is a free book formatting software solution, so there is that if money is super tight.

Download Kindle Create here.

But for straightforward novels and essays, Kindle Create is a great tool that lets you:

  • Format your manuscript
  • Customize your headers and footers
  • Create a table of contents
  • Insert page numbers
  • Give your eBook a visual theme
  • Preview your eBook as it will appear on a tablet, phone, or e-reader
  • Format for eBook or print publishing

So, again, if you need a free option and don't need to make you book look amazing, then this is it.

Pros to Kindle Create:

  • Pretty easy to use
  • Free
  • Can create both ebooks and books

Cons to Kindle Create:

  • Incredibly limited in what you can do
  • Only suitable for some types of books
  • The finished product looks less professional
  • No full bleed image or chapter themes with images
  • Limited on export options
  • Does not have footnotes, callout boxes
  • Low number of allowed fonts
Download Here

#4. MS Word

As many of you have, I've used MS Word for years. Because of this, I am super comfortable with it, and have written all types of papers, articles, books, etc within it. But as a word processor for authors, there in lies the problem. MS word was made for every type of writing, and thus isn't the best at all of them.

So, for authors, there are better writing options out there. But you're not here to learn about its writing. So, let's talk about the formatting process with MS Word.

Formatting a book with MS Word isn't easy to do. There are a lot of tutorials that can help walk you through it, like the video one I did here. Also, just to prove a point on how difficult it is to format with Word, someone out there sells a $100+ course to learn how to format with Word. I wouldn't recommend that because at that point, you're better off buying a software and making your life easier (plus having more capability).

Now, you can simplify using Word for your books with some of my free book templates out there – however, again, those can only go so far.

Also, remember, MS Word costs $139.99 or $6.99/month to include all Microsoft 365. So, if you don't already have it, this quickly becomes one of the most expensive options out there.

So, in the end, if you already have it and you want to spend money to learn how to use it to format with it, that should be fine. Just remember that your formatting will be limited, and you won't be able to do as much as you would with something like Atticus or Vellum. It's because of this that it gets the #4 for formatting.

Pros to MS Word:

  • Most probably already own it
  • Most are familiar with it

Cons to MS Word:

  • Expensive annual cost if you don't already have it
  • Limited design options
  • No full bleed image or chapter themes with images
  • Limited on export options
  • It's not intended for book formatting
  • You'll end up with a less professional-looking book
Buy Here

#5. Scrivener

scrivener formatting view

Now, you might be asking, “Wait! What is this black box of things you are showing me above.” Well, that's what formatting a book with Scrivener looks like. As you can see, this is NOT intuitive, and pretty hard to do. It's so complicated, that people sell courses that are over $100 just to learn how to ‘format' a book with Scrivener. (And that's for a software that costs only $59.99).

So, when it comes to formatting with Scrivener , this isn't a great option. Most fans of Scrivener will write in, and the export it into a formatting software. This is because of how hard it is to format within, but also because in order to work with an editor, they have to export it anyway. Furthermore, the options and things you can do with Scrivener formatting (even with the expensive courses) are still very limiting.

Now, as a writing software, Scrivener is a different story.

Scrivener is the best at writing books and was my go-to for years. I love its ready-made templates, distraction-free Composition Mode, and its emphasis on organization and having all your research files in one window. It truly was built with doing large scale writing in mind. However, it still isn't fully devoted to books and its complexity shows.

Having writing millions of words in it, and first using it back in 2007 for my Masters Thesis, I still don't know how to use 60% of it. I've even paid for courses

If you'd like to learn more about Scrivener, you can check out my full review.

By the way, if you do decide you want to get Scrivener, you can use my code below and get 20% off the $59.99 price. Use my 20% off coupon code by foloowing these steps:

  1. Click the following link to access the product
  2. When you get to the checkout, type in KINDLEPRENEUR
  3. After that you should see the -20% taken off the price

Pros to Scrivener:

  • Great for planning and writing your book
  • Inexpensive
  • No subscriptions fees – but you do have to pay again each time they update
  • Can create both ebooks and print books

Cons to Scrivener:

  • Difficult to use to format
  • It's more of a writing program with ‘formatting' capabilities
  • Limited formatting options
  • Does not have footnotes, callout boxes
  • Does not have formatting for H2-H6
Buy Here

#6. Reedsy Book Editor

Reedsy Book Editor is a free option for authors to use. By logging into Reedsy's system, you can then access this formatting software that is easy to use, but also incredibly limited in what you can do.

Also, another reason why this didn't beat out Kindle Create as the best free book formatting software is because you need to log into Reedsy's system to use. Once you sign up to use their free system, your books will be on their system alone, and you will then be marketed to to use their services.

While Reedsy does have template for people to use, Reedsy will automatically chooses your font, size, and spacing according to what template you’ve selected. Of course, you can highlight a passage and change these features if need be but this can be tedious.

Also, like problems with Google Docs, the Reedsy Book Editor only works on a web browser, meaning it’s hampered by your internet connection and your browser’s inefficient processing speed.

So again, it is a free option, but it is very limited and requires you to create an account with Reedsy to operate.

Pros to Reedsy Book Editor:

  • Free
  • Easy to use
  • Pre-made teplates
  • Can create ebooks and printed books

Cons to Reedsy Book Editor:

  • Highly limited in its capability to format
  • Does not have footnotes, callout boxes
  • Does not have formatting for H2-H6
  • Can't do full bleed images and chapter theme design
  • Limited number of fonts to choose from
  • You'll end up with a less professional-looking book

Other Formatting Options

The 5 formatting tools above make up the top book formatting software available. But there are other formatting programs you may want to consider.

Adobe InDesign is the industry standard for professional formatters. However, its steep cost ($31.49/month, or $239.88/year) and massive suite of features should only be purchased and used by those with a design or formatting background. I only recommend someone think about Adobe if they want to become a professional formatter and is willing to spend hours and hours learning how to use it.

Calibre is another where authors can edit, convert, and format books and manuscripts. And while it is free, I found it to be much more complex than either Kindle Create or Reedsy Book Editor, and have just as many limiting capabilities as them as well.

Jutoh is a book formatting tool that costs $45 for the Standard Edition. Its most useful feature is that it suggests potential formatting problems you may have missed. It allows you to format unlimited books in EPUB, MOBI, HTML, and TXT. So, why wasn't it listed? Well, the developer hasn't kept up with updating it, and it's fallen a bit to the wayside.

Which One is My Favorite Formatting Software?

As you can see, Atticus is clear winner for formatting books. It's easy to use, has lots of features that give authors the easy ability to make their books unique and professional. Plus, it's always adding more features and capabilities, and never charges authors when it does.

Check Out Atticus

If, however, you don't have the money for Atticus, and need a free option, then I recommend Kindle Create. It's absolutely free and you won't be hassled with marketing pushes from the creator. It's limited, but can get the job done.



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2 thoughts on “Best Book Formatting Software: 2024 [+ Discounts]

Comments
  1. Jeff

    Great information. I was unaware that Amazon is phasing out MOBI. Thanks.

    1. Dave Chesson

      Yup – end of June.

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