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e-books

Tags: E-books
e-books
e-books


An electronic book (also e-book, ebook, digital book) is a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices.[1] Sometimes the equivalent of a conventional printed book, e-books can also be born digital. The Oxford Dictionary of English defines the e-book as "an electronic version of a printed book,"[2] but e-books can and do exist without any printed equivalent. E-books are usually read on dedicated hardware devices known as e-Readers or e-book devices. Personal computers and some cell phones can also be used to read e-books.

A user viewing an electronic page on a prototype OLPC

Among the earliest general e-books were those in Project Gutenberg, in 1971. One early e-book implementation was the desktop prototype for a proposed notebook computer, the Dynabook, in the 1970s at PARC: a general-purpose portable personal computer capable of displaying books for reading.[3]

Early e-books were generally written for specialty areas and a limited audience, meant to be read only by small and devoted interest groups. The scope of the subject matter of these e-books included technical manuals for hardware, manufacturing techniques and other subjects.[citation needed] In the 1990s, the general availability of the Internet made transferring electronic files much easier, including e-books.

Numerous e-book formats, view comparison of e-book formats, emerged and proliferated, some supported by major software companies such as Adobe with its PDF format, and others

Amazon Kindle 2

supported by independent and open-source programmers. Multiple readers followed multiple formats, most of them specializing in only one format, and thereby fragmenting the e-book market even more. Due to exclusiveness and limited readerships of e-books, the fractured market of independents and specialty authors lacked consensus regarding a standard for packaging and selling e-books. In 2010 e-books continued to gain in their own underground markets. Many e-book publishers began distributing books that were in the public domain. At the same time, authors with books that were not accepted by publishers offered their works online so they could be seen by others. Unofficial (and occasionally unauthorized) catalogs of books became available over the web, and sites devoted to e-books began disseminating information about e-books to the public. [4]

Amazon Kindle 2

supported by independent and open-source programmers. Multiple readers followed multiple formats, most of them specializing in only one format, and thereby fragmenting the e-book market even more. Due to exclusiveness and limited readerships of e-books, the fractured market of independents and specialty authors lacked consensus regarding a standard for packaging and selling e-books. In 2010 e-books continued to gain in their own underground markets. Many e-book publishers began distributing books that were in the public domain. At the same time, authors with books that were not accepted by publishers offered their works online so they could be seen by others. Unofficial (and occasionally unauthorized) catalogs of books became available over the web, and sites devoted to e-books began disseminating information about e-books to the public. [4]

U.S. Libraries began providing free e-books to the public in 1998 through their web sites and associated services,[5] although the e-books were primarily scholarly, technical or professional in nature, and could not be downloaded. In 2003, libraries began offering free downloadable popular fiction and non-fiction e-books to the public, launching an e-book lending model that worked much more successfully for public libraries.[6] The number of library e-book distributors and lending models continued to increase over the next few years. In 2010, a Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study[7] found that 66% of public libraries in the U.S. were offering e-books,[8] and a large movement in the library industry began seriously examining the issues related to lending e-books, acknowledging a tipping point of broad e-book usage.[9]

As of 2009[update], new marketing models for e-books were being developed and dedicated reading hardware was produced. E-books (as opposed to ebook readers) have yet to achieve global distribution. In the United States, as of September 2009, the Amazon Kindle model and Sony's PRS-500 were the dominant e-reading devices.[10] By March 2010, some reported that the Barnes & Noble Nook may be selling more units than the Kindle.[11] On January 27, 2010 Apple Inc. launched a multi-function device called the iPad[12] and announced agreements with five of the six largest publishers that would allow Apple to distribute e-books.[13] However, many publishers and authors have not endorsed the concept of electronic publishing, citing issues with demand, piracy and proprietary devices.[14]

In July 2010, online bookseller Amazon.com reported sales of ebooks for its proprietary Kindle outnumbered sales of hardcover books for the first time ever during the second quarter of 2010, saying it sold 140 e-books for every 100 hardcover books, including hardcovers for which there was no digital edition.[15] By January 2011, ebook sales at Amazon had surpassed its paperback sales.[16] In the overall U.S. market, paperback book sales are still much larger than either hardcover or e-book; the American Publishing Association estimated e-books represented 8.5% of sales as of mid-2010.[17] In Canada, the option of ebook publishing took a higher profile when the novel, The Sentimentalists, won the prestigious national Giller Prize. Owing to the small scale of the novel's independent publisher, the book was initially not widely available in printed form, but the ebook edition had no such problems with it becoming the top-selling title for Kobo devices.[18]

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