What Is An eBook

An eBook is in effect a digital book. It can take on various forms from a straightforward digital copy of a printed book to a very sophisticated interactive multimedia presentation. eBooks can be read or downloaded from the internet but can also be distributed via CD or DVD. With the explosion of mobile phone technology eBooks are read on the move everywhere not just on your dedicated eBook readers. The eBook doesn't necessarily have to be a book as such, it can simulate a website or act as a company brochure.

In order to read the digital files the customer has to have a computer or portable device with the necessary software. There have been many eBook formats but Adobe has led the way with Acrobat Reader. This eBook reader is not only free to download but it is also cross-platform and very versatile enabling high quality readability and text formatting as well as sophisticated interactivity. Most computers come with a version already pre-installed so the eBook in PDF format opens automatically. A PDF can also have an in-built system to control who can access the file called DRM (Digital Right Management).

eBook Readers

There are many ereaders on the market to day, from Kindles, Sony Reader, iPads, Galaxy Tabs, Kobo's etc. All ereaders support the simpler, mainly text-based content benefit from other eBook formats including the ePub and Kindle format. These formats support 're-flow'. The eBook reader has the ability to adjust text size, margins and spacing depending on the type of device used automatically. Of course this format has its downside, no page number references can be used, tables, pictures and graphics have to flow with the content and font choice is restricted. Free eBook readers are available for PCs and smart phones and prices for dedicated eBook reading devices are dropping. The latest Kindle Fire supports a much wider range of styles now although bear in mind backward compatibility. The earlier Kindles are still in black and white.

The advantages of an eBook

  • Space-saving with no wear and tear.
  • Generally much lower cost than conventional books.
  • Revising a document is simple and low cost compared to a printed version.
  • Accessible from various devices and paper-free.
  • Interactivity can aid navigation of complex documents including linking to websites. The ability to add notes by the user can be added if required.
  • Printable books and brochures can be easily saved as an eBook if produced in Quark Xpress or InDesign, the industry standard software for this type of work. The file size is lowered by adding more compression to the files. eBook resolution is not as critical as print resolution.
  • The PDF has sound functionality for people with impaired vision if a compatible ereader is purchased. Has a wide variety of uses including literary works, educational aids, promotional materials, catalogues.


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