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Differences between a Whitepaper and an Ebook

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Ebooks and Whitepapers have become two of the most useful, in-demand and efficient tools in Inbound Marketing. However, due to their similarities, including their digital book format, they tend to be confused. Here are some guidelines to help you understand the differences between these formats so you can choose the best one for each situation, problem or topic and implement the results of your Inbound Marketing strategy.

An Ebook is, nowadays, a fairly well-known format. It is, in general terms, a digitised book, a concept that applies to novels, poetry and theatre, but also to essays and any other paper format that can be digitised. Of course, the Ebooks we are referring to in this article are not novels.

A Whitepaper is a digital file very similar to a Paper, a scientific document, essay or thesis that is published on the internet and whose content is rigorous, reliable and has been checked by professionals. A paper would be an article from a scientific journal transferred to a pdf, a thesis, a final degree project, etc. A Whitepaper is a digitalised document just like a paper, but whose content is a guide .

The importance of content: Similarities

It is precisely the content that is the key feature of both formats. Both Ebooks and Whitepapers are part of Inbound Marketing, the marketing that attracts customers by offering them information. Two of the most efficient ways to do this are Ebooks and Whitepapers.

Of course, both documents are in digital format, inside websites, newsletters, emails or blog articles. They are usually downloaded by clicking on a link, although they are not always so accessible, sometimes they are exclusive content that has been obtained by leaving some data and becoming a lead, subscribing to some additional content or similar strategies that content marketing uses.

Both documents are written by people or by a person or entity with a position, title or experience that guarantees their accuracy and reliability. This is essential, especially in Whitepapaers

Both formats try to give information to these customers, in exchange for attracting them to the company, although the format, content and other details between them make them two different things.


In terms of nomenclature, when we talk about Ebook we refer to a digital book, while a Whitepaper does not come to be considered a book but a document. This is due to both its length and content.

In terms of length, the Ebook is longer than the Whitepaper, which usually occupies a maximum of 20 pages, although this is not an inflexible measure. This is because the content of a Whitepaper is more limited, focused and focussed than that of an Ebook, which usually talks about a broader topic. For example, an example of a Whitepaper would be "20 tools to improve your SEOpositioning". The document would directly list the 20 ways, tools, methods and guidelines that you should implement on your website to improve SEO positioning. It would appear step by step, with teachings and details, but it would not go beyond that.

The same content could appear in an Ebook called "The SEO revolution", which would talk about the new era of internet marketing, how search engines are the key to publicity and the notoriety of a page, how the engines work, what values are important, etc. And part of this content would be tools to improve SEO positioning.

The subject of a Whitepaper, therefore, is more closed and usually consists of a route or a map to achieve a goal. Even so, the Ebook usually has more graphic elements such as photos, infographics or similar. The breadth of the content of the Ebook compared to the Whitepaper makes, at the same time, that the former can be divided into chapters or parts, something that does not happen in the Whitepaper because the content is so limited and direct that it is considered only one.

Due to the specificity of the Whitepaper, it is usually written with a more technical and formal vocabulary than the Ebook, which does not mean that the latter is written in a colloquial way. Simply the tinge of a guide or instruction manual of the Whitepaper forces the writer of this format to make a large part of the content technical jargon. On the other hand, whoever develops an idea in an explanatory way, can afford to explain each necessary technicality, making the whole text less technical. This small variation in language and contextualisation makes the Ebook a more marketable format, as it is also more accessible to a wider audience.

It is because of this character of manual and guide to solve a problem that the Whitepaper is more oriented to B2B than the Ebook. B2B is the type of communication that is done between companies, Business to Business. Even so, Whitepapers are also very popular in B2C communication, Business to Consumer.

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