What is an eBook: A Beginner's Guide.

What is an eBook? A Beginner’s Guide to Understand the Basics.

What is an eBook and basics of it

There are many people out there who prefer downloading eBooks to reading a print book. The article is for people who are not aware of what an eBook is or are disinterested in creating one.

Defining an eBook

defining an eBook

The eBook is a short version of the electronic book. An eBook is considered to be the print book’s electronic counterpart that is reflowable and non-editable. Books are converted into a digital format as eBooks to get identified on digital devices such as an e-reader device, mobile, computers, tabs, etc. Why wait to receive a book via post when you can download it instantly on the internet for free or marginal cost within seconds.
Once you have downloaded the eBook, you can have immediate access to it. You can start reading, taking notes, bookmarking pages, highlighting pages, and much more, just like traditional paper books.

Characteristics of an eBook

There are a lot of files read on electronic devices and apps. But eBooks are not like any other document or PDFs available online. An eBook is not a book in digital form. The eBook format is one of the characteristics that make it unique, along with style and usability. 

The characteristics of an eBook are:

• Not Editable

The unique aspect of an eBook is that it is not editable. Just like the traditional printed books, no text can be edited here. All reading apps and readers are designed to restrict the reader from editing any portion. However, it gives the option to add notes and highlight the text.

• Reflowable

(has an exception)
eBooks are reflowable, which means it fits the screen size of the popular eReader devices or a computer or handheld device. It will fit the digital screen of the device where the text, illustrations, or photographs resize to fit the device’s proportions.

• Create your own Rules

It is the most significant aspect of eBook creation and reading it. You can customize the font style, size, and line spacing. It also gives the option of an in-built dictionary, and hyperlinks allow you to navigate to chapters.

How to Read eBooks

How to read eBooks

To read an eBook, you need a compatible eBook  reader app or eReader. Compatibility is a big issue since many different file formats are available for eBooks, and not all eBook readers support every eBook file type.

The e-reader is a program designed to correctly display the text and images found on the pages of the eBook. You either download eBook readers for your PC, laptop, or mobile devices, or you could purchase dedicated eBook reader devices like Amazon’s Kindle.

The following are some of the more popular eBook readers available.

• Kindle


Kindle is the flagship eBook reader from the retail giant Amazon. Originally released in 2007, it’s a standalone reader that displays eBooks in the AZW, MOBI, PRC, TXT, and PDF file formats. Unfortunately, all Amazon e-readers produced under the Kindle line can only display black and white pages. In addition, a Kindle can’t display ePUB files.

• Amazon Fire (Formerly Kindle Fire)

Amazon recognized the limitations of its Kindle line and introduced Kindle Fire in 2011. The Amazon Fire line of tablets features the ability to display colors on a Gorilla Glass touch screen. In addition, the Fire tablet can correctly display all formats used by the Kindle and have its very own proprietary file format KF8 and KFX formats.

The Fire tablet also has the ability to display images in the JPG, BMP, GIF, and PNG file types, video in MP4 and VP8, audio in AAC, OGG, MP3 and WAV, and Word files in DOC and DOCX. However, like the Kindle, the Amazon Fire tablet cannot display ePUBs.

• Kobo


Released in 2010, Kobo became the most successful competitor of Kindle. Just like Kindle, it’s a dedicated eBook reader that displays pages in monochrome. However, unlike the Kindle, Kobo can display EPUB. Other files that KOBO supports are PDF, MOBI, JPEG, PNG, BMP, TIFF, GIF, TXT, RTF, HTML, and even CBZ and CBR for comic books.



The book-selling giant Barnes & Noble wanted to get in on the eBook trend, so they released their very own eBook reader and media player in 2009 – the NOOK. Recent versions of the NOOK line of tablets support PDF, ePUB, but not MOBI.

• iPad – Apple Books

ipad Apple Books

(Formerly iBooks)
Apple got a big slice of the pie with the iPad. Released in 2010, this tablet is an eBook reader as well as a media-playing beast. The iPad comes with a preinstalled, proprietary eBook reader: the Apple Books (formerly known as iBooks). The file formats that the iBooks or Apple Books supports are EPUB, PDF, and OPDS.

• Adobe Digital Editions

ADE is Adobe’s version of the eBook reader. ADE is not a dedicated eBook device. Instead, it is a software program that can be installed on iOS and Android devices. While they already have Adobe Acrobat for PDFs, they still had to compete with eBook readers that support the popular EPUB format – thus developing ADE. ADE supports EPUB, EPUB3, and PDF.

• Readium

Readium is an EPUB eBook reader that’s packaged as a Chrome extension. It supports functionalities of EPUB3, such as media overlays and reflowable eBooks. Readium can also work well with accessibility software like JAWS for screen reading.

• DRM and Accessibility (Daisy) in eBooks

It stands for Digital Accessible Information System. DAISY is an audiobook digital standard that’s used for those who are visually impaired or have dyslexia. With DAISY, an audiobook is read aloud and can be manipulated for enhanced understandability. Such interface features include the ability to regulate the speed of speaking, line-by-line navigation, and even placing “bookmarks.”

eBook Formats

You have seen the characteristics of an eBook and how to read them. Now, the essential aspect to understand is the various eBook formats available. There are different types of eBook formats like EPUB and MOBI, used in various platforms and devices.  


Electronic publication or EPUB is an open format developed by the International Digital Publishing Forums. It is the most widely supported format that opens most smartphones, laptops, and eReaders except Kindle. 

EPUB file works on popular devices like iPod Touch, iPhone, Kobo Reader, Sony Readers, and more. EPUB3 is the latest version of EPUB that is supported by many latest devices. Being the latest version, EPUB3 has significant differences from the EPUB format. EPUB3 is the format of fixed-layout and interactive eBooks.


MOBI was initially developed as a PalmDOC extension format. The MobiPocketReader used it. There are few limitations while using the MOBI format. For example, the image size cannot be scaled using font size, and tables get displayed distinctly on various readers, specifically in tables covering more than one screen or when nested table support is absent. It also cannot support audio or video. It does not open on all eReaders except NOOK.

• AZW & AZW3

It is the format specifically supported in Kindle. It supports reflowable and fixed-layout eBooks. The format gives the options like bookmark, highlight, and annotate. It is similar to the EPUB format. Android devices and iOS can read this format, but other eReaders like NOOK or Kobo cannot.


PDF is another format that is often used because of its massive usage on the web. It is technically not an eBook format, but it is one of the popular mediums through which eBooks are downloaded and read. The issue with PDF is that reflowable content is problematic, and not many eBook stores accept this format.

Benefits of eBooks

  • eBooks can never go out of print. All you need Wi-Fi to download. Once you have
  • downloaded your e-book, you can transfer it or use it from devices such as computers, mobiles or upload it on the cloud.
  • You can download them on an SD card or a USB stick to keep them safe and won’t have any issues with storage.
  • It is convenient to read eBooks at the reader’s own time and pace. It is possible to carry numerous books when you travel for work or leisure. It can be carried anywhere in the world.
  • eBooks are a smarter choice when it comes to formats. You can watch videos, listen to lectures, speeches, and do other things efficiently concerning media type.
  • Synchronizing eBooks and audiobooks are done easily.
  • Videos and aids like charts or graphs for visual learners are considered valuable and play as an advantage of eBooks.
  • Through eBooks, you can search for a phrase or word inside the book easily. It is not possible in traditional hardcover or paperbacks.

Creating eBooks

If you are an aspiring writer who wants to publish, an eBook is a way to fulfill that dream. It is probably the easiest and the fastest way for a story to reach a wide audience. In this day and age, the readership of eBooks has increased manifold, and now is the right time to publish.

Once you’ve finished writing the manuscript, you need to know how to create an eBook. There are numerous ways to create and publish your eBook. For instance, if you write and format an eBook in Word, you need to prepare the manuscript for eBook conversion.

You have software that enables you to do the conversion, or you can always hire a professional for it.

Distributing your eBooks

It is not enough to create an eBook, and you also need to get that to readers worldwide. One of the ways to distribute your eBook is to sell it directly from your website. But this way works best for already published and well-known authors.

For aspiring authors, the best way to distribute your eBooks is through major retail and subscription platforms like Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and Nook. In addition, there are numerous ways of eBook distribution by which you can make your eBooks available for the world to ready.

Download eBooks

We have gone through the benefits of eBooks and the characteristics of eBooks that make them so popular and incredible. Other than the retail platforms that allow you to buy and read the eBook, where else can you download an eBook?

Numerous websites legally allow you to download thousands of books and read them. Websites like Project Gutenberg, Centsless Books, and BookBoon allow you to download eBooks.

Feel like you know got more information about eBooks? eBooks aren’t as challenging, and it is easy to read an eBook and create one

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