With the advent of the world wide web and e-learning, traditional printed books are slowly being replaced by eBooks in recent years. Ever since the eBook era started less than a decade ago, its level of popularity and acceptance by people all over the world had grown tremendously. However, while there are still people who prefer conventional printed books to eBooks for various reasons, the role of eBooks will surely move up to complement or even replace some important categories of paperbacks such as dictionaries and directories, just to name a few.
An eBook is an electronic copy of a book. You can start reading an eBook as soon as you’ve paid for it, so there is no waiting for delivery. Moreover, there are plenty of free eBooks available for download from the internet. The greatest advantage of eBooks is its convenience of size and portability; you can store your entire eBook library on a computer, laptop, tablet or any other portable electronic device.
To read an eBook, you need to download a small piece of free software and acquire a simple eBook reader. eBooks come in different formats and each format has its own reader software. The format you select will depend on your operating system (Windows, Mac, etc) and whether you would like to read on a hand held device or on your computer. You can download eBooks to computers, dedicated eBook devices, PDAs and mobile phones. Alternatively, you can also read eBooks online, from any computer, anywhere, without downloading or installing anything.
eBook titles are essentially digital books in the electronic form. Other than being paperless and needs an eBook Reader to read, eBook titles are very much similar to the conventional printed books we used to read since books came into existence. However, it is evident that the entry of eBook titles is slowly threatening the continued existence of printed books.
What are the benefits of reading eBooks?
You can enjoy the following benefits if you choose to read eBook titles over printed books:
1) eBooks are immediate. While you are sitting at home, you can read an intriguing review of a book, one not yet in stores here, and with the click of a button be reading that eBook in an instant.
2) eBooks are incorporeal. While traveling, you can bring along several volumes of eBooks, almost weightless and without volume, thereby enabling you to pack only a carry-on bag with only an eBook Reader and not compromise on your reading pleasures on the trip.
3) Economical – In most cases, eBooks are cheaper than paper books.
4) Instantly available – just download the eBook instead of waiting for “mail” or local release.
5) Convenient – you can load novels onto a portable eBook Reader before you go on a trip.
6) Quick to download – an average novel in its eBook format takes only 3-4 minutes.
7) You can build a whole library of digital eBooks.
8) Users can do research and create or organize content online with eBooks.
9) eBook software is free and easy to download from the internet.
Despite of the above benefits, one has to take note that the reading of eBook titles is only possible with an eBook Reader, eBook Device or computer which is loaded with an eBook Software.
An eBook reader, also called an eBook device or eReader, is a mobile electronic device that is designed primarily for the purpose of reading digital eBook titles and periodicals.
Any device that can display text on a screen may act as an eBook reader, but specialised eBook reader designs may optimise portability, readability (especially in sunlight), and battery life for this purpose. A single eBook reader is capable of holding the digital equivalent of hundreds of printed books with no added bulk or measurable mass.
The main advantages of eBook readers are better readability of their screens, especially in bright sunlight, and longer battery life. This is achieved by using electronic paper technology to display content to ereaders. Commercially sold electronic paper is mostly available in black and white (16 shades of gray). The Sony Librie, released in 2004 and the precursor to the Sony Reader, was the first ebook Reader developed by using electronic paper. The first color in the market is Ectaco jetBook Color, with a 9.7″ screen, though its muted colors have been criticized.
Many eBook readers can use the internet through Wi-Fi and the built-in eBook software sometimes provides a link to a digital OPDS Library or eBook seller, allowing the user to buy, borrow, and receive digital eBook titles free through this library or seller. In this way, the eBook titles owned by the user are managed in the cloud, and the eBook reader is able to download eBooks from any location. An eBook reader may also download eBooks from a computer or read it from a memory card.
With a compatible ebook software, anyone can read or write an ebook! An eBook software is basically a software that facilitates the reading and creation of eBooks. Besides eBooks, users can also create digital scrapbooks, photomontages, brochures, school year books, journals, catalogues, manuals, magazines, cards and more on such eBook platforms.
As nations emphasize the need to sustain the global environment and encourage their people to cut back on paper and ink, and with virtual publication being able to reach anyone from any point in the world, more people are taking their reading interests online by embracing eBooks. Books previously printed on paper are now available in eBook titles and eBook formats on computer screens, eBook Readers, mobile phones and other eBook devices.
One of the greatest benefits brought about by eBook software is the ability for anyone to create professional ebooks without having to fork out thousands of dollars to design and publish a book. People can easily become authors overnight and earn income from selling online eBooks. The wide circulation, availability, and interactivity of eBooks have changed the way traditional print books are consumed by the market.
Having said so much on the advantages of eBooks, there are many reasons why a lot of people still prefer conventional printed books such as the ‘sense of touch’, ‘connectivity to the feel of the book’ and ‘sentimental value it can be attached’ just to name a few. However, whether we like it or not, the eBook revolution is here to stay and as technological advancements move forward, the dominance and importance of eBooks will become stronger as time goes by while that of conventional printed books will slowly but surely decline over time.
As a forward looking life-long learner, I personally advocate the adoption of eBooks early to embrace the technology as we are moving into the digital age with the dominance and extensive usage of smartphones, tablets and laptop computers. As for those printed books that I have collected over the years, I will still treasure them as they can be passed on to future generations as a keepsake in my estate to form part of my legacy.