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An ebook short for electronic book , also known as an e-book or eBook , is a book publication made available in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, readable on the flat-panel display of computers or other electronic devices.
E-books can be read on dedicated e-reader devices, but also on any computer device that features a controllable viewing screen, including desktop computers , laptops , tablets and smartphones. In the s, there was a trend of print and e-book sales moving to the Internet , [ citation needed ] where readers buy traditional paper books and e-books on websites using e-commerce systems. With print books, readers are increasingly browsing through images of the covers of books on publisher or bookstore websites and selecting and ordering titles online; the paper books are then delivered to the reader by mail or another delivery service.
With e-books, users can browse through titles online, and then when they select and order titles, the e-book can be sent to them online or the user can download the e-book. The main reasons for people buying e-books are possibly lower prices, increased comfort as they can buy from home or on the go with mobile devices and a larger selection of titles.
In addition, for programming books, code examples can be copied. E-books are also referred to as “ebooks”, “eBooks”, “Ebooks”, “e-Books”, “e-journals”, “e-editions”, or “digital books”. A device that is designed specifically for reading e-books is called an “e-reader”, “ebook device”, or “eReader”.
Some trace the concept of an e-reader, a device that would enable the user to view books on a screen, to a manifesto by Bob Brown , written after watching his first ” talkie ” movie with sound. He titled it The Readies , playing off the idea of the “talkie”. A simple reading machine which I can carry or move around, attach to any old electric light plug and read hundred-thousand-word novels in 10 minutes if I want to, and I want to. Brown’s notion, however, was much more focused on reforming orthography and vocabulary, than on medium “It is time to pull out the stopper” and begin “a bloody revolution of the word.
Later e-readers never followed a model at all like Brown’s; however, he correctly predicted the miniaturization and portability of e-readers.
In an article, Jennifer Schuessler writes, “The machine, Brown argued, would allow readers to adjust the type size, avoid paper cuts and save trees, all while hastening the day when words could be ‘recorded directly on the palpitating ether. Schuessler correlates it with a DJ spinning bits of old songs to create a beat or an entirely new song, as opposed to just a remix of a familiar song. The inventor of the first e-book is not widely agreed upon.
Some notable candidates include the following:. The first e-book may be the Index Thomisticus , a heavily annotated electronic index to the works of Thomas Aquinas , prepared by Roberto Busa , S.
However, this work is sometimes omitted; perhaps because the digitized text was a means for studying written texts and developing linguistic concordances, rather than as a published edition in its own right. Her idea was to create a device which would decrease the number of books that her pupils carried to school. The final device was planned to include audio recordings, a magnifying glass, a calculator and an electric light for night reading. All these systems also provided extensive hyperlinking , graphics, and other capabilities.
Van Dam is generally thought to have coined the term “electronic book”,   and it was established enough to use in an article title by FRESS was used for reading extensive primary texts online, as well as for annotation and online discussions in several courses, including English Poetry and Biochemistry.
Thus in the Preface to Person and Object he writes “The book would not have been completed without the epoch-making File Retrieval and Editing System Despite the extensive earlier history, several publications report Michael S.
Hart as the inventor of the e-book. Seeking a worthy use of this resource, he created his first electronic document by typing the United States Declaration of Independence into a computer in plain text. After Hart first adapted the U. Declaration of Independence into an electronic document in , Project Gutenberg was launched to create electronic copies of more texts, especially books.
Department of Defense began concept development for a portable electronic delivery device for technical maintenance information called project PEAM, the Portable Electronic Aid for Maintenance. Four prototypes were produced and delivered for testing in , and tests were completed in The final summary report was produced in by the U.
Peter Kincaid. Harkins and Stephen H. Morriss as inventors. In , Sony launched the Data Discman , an electronic book reader that could read e-books that were stored on CDs. One of the electronic publications that could be played on the Data Discman was called The Library of the Future.
The scope of the subject matter of these e-books included technical manuals for hardware, manufacturing techniques, and other subjects. In , Paul Baim released a freeware HyperCard stack, called EBook, that allowed easy import of any text file to create a pageable version similar to an electronic paperback book. A notable feature was automatic tracking of the last page read so that on returning to the ‘book’ you were taken back to where you had previously left off reading.
The title of this stack may have been the first instance of the term ‘ebook’ used in the modern context. As e-book formats emerged and proliferated, [ citation needed ] some garnered support from major software companies, such as Adobe with its PDF format that was introduced in Different e-reader devices followed different formats, most of them accepting books in only one or a few formats, thereby fragmenting the e-book market even more.
Due to the exclusiveness and limited readerships of e-books, the fractured market of independent publishers and specialty authors lacked consensus regarding a standard for packaging and selling e-books.
Meanwhile, scholars formed the Text Encoding Initiative , which developed consensus guidelines for encoding books and other materials of scholarly interest for a variety of analytic uses as well as reading, and countless literary and other works have been developed using the TEI approach.
In the late s, a consortium formed to develop the Open eBook format as a way for authors and publishers to provide a single source-document which many book-reading software and hardware platforms could handle. Focused on portability, Open eBook as defined required subsets of XHTML and CSS ; a set of multimedia formats others could be used, but there must also be a fallback in one of the required formats , and an XML schema for a “manifest”, to list the components of a given e-book, identify a table of contents, cover art, and so on.
Google Books has converted many public domain works to this open format. In , e-books continued to gain in their own specialist and underground markets. Unofficial and occasionally unauthorized catalogs of books became available on the web, and sites devoted to e-books began disseminating information about e-books to the public.
Consumer e-book publishing market are controlled by the “Big Five”. In , 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. The U. National Library of Medicine has for many years provided PubMed , a comprehensive bibliography of medical literature. In early , NLM set up the PubMed Central repository, which stores full-text e-book versions of many medical journal articles and books, through cooperation with scholars and publishers in the field.
Pubmed Central also now provides archiving and access to over 4. Despite the widespread adoption of e-books, some publishers and authors have not endorsed the concept of electronic publishing , citing issues with user demand, copyright infringement and challenges with proprietary devices and systems.
This survey found significant barriers to conducting interlibrary loan for e-books. Mellon Foundation. Although the demand for e-book services in libraries has grown in the first two decades of the 21st century, difficulties keep libraries from providing some e-books to clients. When a library purchases an e-book license, the cost is at least three times what it would be for a personal consumer. However, some studies have found the opposite effect to be true for example, Hilton and Wikey The Internet Archive and Open Library offer more than six million fully accessible public domain e-books.
Project Gutenberg has over 52, freely available public domain e-books. An e-reader , also called an e-book reader or e-book device , is a mobile electronic device that is designed primarily for the purpose of reading e-books and digital periodicals. An e-reader is similar in form, but more limited in purpose than a tablet. In comparison to tablets, many e-readers are better than tablets for reading because they are more portable, have better readability in sunlight and have longer battery life.
Until late , use of an e-reader was not allowed on airplanes during takeoff and landing by the FAA. Some of the major book retailers and multiple third-party developers offer free and in some third-party cases, premium paid e-reader software applications apps for the Mac and PC computers as well as for Android, Blackberry, iPad, iPhone, Windows Phone and Palm OS devices to allow the reading of e-books and other documents independently of dedicated e-book devices.
Writers and publishers have many formats to choose from when publishing e-books. Each format has advantages and disadvantages. The most popular e-readers  and their natively supported formats are shown below:. Most e-book publishers do not warn their customers about the possible implications of the digital rights management tied to their products.
Generally, they claim that digital rights management is meant to prevent illegal copying of the e-book. However, in many cases, it is also possible that digital rights management will result in the complete denial of access by the purchaser to the e-book.
The first major publisher to omit DRM was Tor Books , one of the largest publishers of science fiction and fantasy, in Some e-books are produced simultaneously with the production of a printed format, as described in electronic publishing , though in many instances they may not be put on sale until later. Often, e-books are produced from pre-existing hard-copy books, generally by document scanning , sometimes with the use of robotic book scanners , having the technology to quickly scan books without damaging the original print edition.
Scanning a book produces a set of image files, which may additionally be converted into text format by an OCR program. Sometimes only the electronic version of a book is produced by the publisher. It is also possible to convert an electronic book to a printed book by print on demand. However, these are exceptions as tradition dictates that a book be launched in the print format and later if the author wishes an electronic version is produced.
The New York Times keeps a list of best-selling e-books, for both fiction  and non-fiction. All of the e-readers and reading apps are capable of tracking e-book reading data, and the data could contain which e-books users open, how long the users spend reading each e-book and how much of each e-book is finished.
Some of the results were that only In the space that a comparably sized physical book takes up, an e-reader can contain thousands of e-books, limited only by its memory capacity. Depending on the device, an e-book may be readable in low light or even total darkness. Many e-readers have a built-in light source, can enlarge or change fonts, use text-to-speech software to read the text aloud for visually impaired, elderly or dyslexic people or just for convenience.
Printed books use three times more raw materials and 78 times more water to produce when compared to e-books. Depending on possible digital rights management , e-books unlike physical books can be backed up and recovered in the case of loss or damage to the device on which they are stored, a new copy can be downloaded without incurring an additional cost from the distributor. Readers can synchronize their reading location, highlights and bookmarks across several devices. There may be a lack of privacy for the user’s e-book reading activities; for example, Amazon knows the user’s identity, what the user is reading, whether the user has finished the book, what page the user is on, how long the user has spent on each page, and which passages the user may have highlighted.
Joe Queenan has written about the pros and cons of e-books:. Electronic books are ideal for people who value the information contained in them, or who have vision problems, or who like to read on the subway, or who do not want other people to see how they are amusing themselves, or who have storage and clutter issues, but they are useless for people who are engaged in an intense, lifelong love affair with books.
Books that we can touch; books that we can smell; books that we can depend on. Apart from all the emotional and habitual aspects, there are also some readability and usability issues that need to be addressed by publishers and software developers.
Many e-book readers who complain about eyestrain, lack of overview and distractions could be helped if they could use a more suitable device or a more user-friendly reading application, but when they buy or borrow a DRM-protected e-book, they often have to read the book on the default device or application, even if it has insufficient functionality.
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