What is an eBook? A Beginner’s Guide to Understand the Basics.
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
eBook is the short version for electronic book. An eBook is considered to be the print book’s electronic counterpart that is reflowable and non-editable. eBooks are converted into a digital format to get identified on digital devices such as 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 simply not a book in digital form. eBook format is one of the characteristics that makes it unique along with the 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 to edit any portion. It gives the option to add notes and highlight the text.
(has an exception)
eBooks are reflowable, which means it fits the screen size of the eReaders or any devices. It will fit the screen of the device where the text, illustrations, or photographs resize to fit the proportions of the device.
• Create your own Rules
It is the most significant aspect of creating and reading an eBook. 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
To read an eBook, you need a compatible eBook reader or e-reader. Compatibility is a big issue since there are many different file formats available for eBooks, and not all eBook readers support every eBook file type.
The e-reader is a program designed to correctly display on the screen 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 is the flagship eBook reader from the retail giant, Amazon. Originally released in 2007, its a standalone reader that displays eBooks in the AZW, MOBI, PRC, TXT, and PDF file formats. All Amazon e-readers that are produced under the Kindle line can only display black and white pages. A Kindle can’t display EPUBs.
• Amazon Fire (Formerly Kindle Fire)
Amazon recognized the limitations of their 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. The Fire tablet can correctly display all formats used by the Kindle as well as 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. Like the Kindle, the Amazon Fire tablet cannot display EPUBs.
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. Unlike the Kindle, Kobo is able to 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 EPUB and PDF but not MOBI.
• iPad – Apple Books
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 iBook’s). 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 the development of ADE. ADE supports EPUB, EPUB3, and PDF.
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 audio book digital standard that’s used for those who are visually impaired or are dyslexic. With DAISY, an audio book 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.”
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. Read more about various eBook formats here.
Electronic publication or EPUB is an open format developed by the International Digital Publishing Forums. It is the most widely supported format that opens in most smartphones, laptops, and eReaders except Kindle. EPUB file works on popular devices like iPod Touch, iPhone, Kobo Reader, Sony Readers and more. Many latest devices support the latest version, EPUB3- the format of fixed-layout and interactive eBooks.
MOBI was initially developed as a PalmDOC extension format. It was used by the MobiPocketReader. 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 the case of 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 EPUB format. Android devices and iOS can read this format but other eReaders like NOOK or Kobo cannot.
PDF is another format which 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 medium 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 on 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 to be 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.
If you are aspiring writer who wants to publish, eBook is the 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, then you need to prepare the manuscript for eBook conversion.
You have softwares that enable 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, you also need to get that to readers around the world. 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. There are numerous ways of eBook distribution by which you can make your eBooks available for the world to ready.
We have gone through the benefits of eBooks, and also the characteristics of eBooks which make it 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?
Feel like you know got more information about eBooks? eBooks aren’t as challenging and difficult, it is easy to read an eBook, and easier to create one.