With all the talk and hype about eBooks these days people often forget they are a relatively new technology that not everyone is familiar with. This page is designed to give you a guided introduction:
What are eBooks?
eBooks are regular books that have been translated into a file format capable of being read on a computer, specialized eBook reader or even a smart phone. You usually have to buy the book in the correct format so that it will work with your particular reading device. For example if you buy an eBook from Amazon.com if will be delivered to you in mobi format – a file type that works on Amazon’s proprietary eBook reader, the Kindle. Some eBook publishers such as the one I have used (Smashwords) allow readers to buy the book once and download it in multiple file formats so you can read a book on your PC, smart phone or eBook reader.
How do I buy eBooks?
eBooks can be purchased from retailers such as Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple and Sony. Some eBooks are also available as apps for the iPhone and Android smart phones.
Can I share my eBooks?
No. You are not allowed to copy and share an eBook with other people. This denies authors the chance to earn income from their work: much like there are laws to protect music artists and software manufacturers the same protection applies for authors who have published their work in electronic form.
How do I read an eBook?
You can read an eBook on any computer, eBook reader, tablet or smartphone. An eBook reader device will usually come with reading software installed, however if you have a smartphone or want to read an eBook on a computer you may need to download one of the many free eBook reading software programs available. These include:
- Kindle application for PC or Mac – reads mobi format
- Adobe Digital Editions – reads ePub format
- Abode Acrobat Reader – reads PDF format
- Stanza – reads ePub format on iPhone or Android smartphones
eBook readers – what’s available?
Probably the main eBook readers available are the following:
- Amazon Kindle
- iPhone or Android smart phones
- Sony eBook reader
Do I need an eBook reader?
No, if you have a regular computer you can read an eBook on that using the free software mentioned above.
eBook readers – useful functions
Book marking, quote clipping, etc
Are there any advantages of eBooks over traditional books?
The main advantages of eBooks over the physical form are:
- Immediate access to buy a book anytime anywhere
- You can carry hundred of books on one small device – knowledge is never far away
- Great for traveling or keeping the kids entertained
- You can adjust font size or even have the device read aloud to you. Good for if your vision is impaired or you forgot your glasses
- A huge book that is heavy can be more comfortably read in bed on a light eBook reader