azw The American company Amazon is a recognized powerhouse when it comes to all things related to books. Their proprietary eBook readers dubbed the Kindle which was first released in 2007 is a testament to this. The .azw file format is the filename extension associated with eBooks designed to be read on Amazon's proprietary Kindle device and through their free but closed source Kindle software for smartphones, PCs, and Macs. The format is incompatible with any device other than kindle and its associated software. In order to open files saved in this format on non-kindle devices, one would have to convert the file to another format such as the open ePub format or PDF. Some converters can also convert other formats into .azw files which can later be opened on a kindle device or application.
epub The ePub format is one of the many open source eBook file formats available. Initially released in 2007, it succeeded the legacy Open eBook format. The format was first defined by the Open eBook forum, part of the international digital publishing forum. EPUB digital books and publications all have the associated .epub extension and can be opened and viewed on any compatible device, software application, smartphone, or dedicated reader. The format is capable of optimizing the resolution of digital publications to suite the resolution of the device being used, making it inherently a 'reflowable' format.