What Are eBooks?

Interestingly, there’s still a bit of confusion when people talk about eBooks.  Are they the books themselves, the words on a digital page?  Are they the electronic devices people use to read these non-paper books?  Does the word “eBook” refer to both the book AND the device?  If you’re thinking of self-publishing an eBook, and are new to the digital reading experience, the following information should help.

eBooks on different e-reader devices

An “eBook” is simply a digital version of a print book that can be read on a computer, a tablet, a PDA, a smartphone or a dedicated e-reader device.  A digital book file is often designed and converted to a variety of eBook formats, since the format will differ depending on how the book will be read.  Those reading on a laptop, for instance, may choose an Adobe PDF version of an eBook.  Or, if they’ve downloaded and installed Amazon’s Kindle for PC software, they’re likely to read a Kindle edition.  Smartphone and tablet users have access to a wide variety of apps that’ll allow them to read eBooks.

An “eBook reader” or “e-reading device” is a piece of hardware dedicated primarily to reading eBooks.  The eBook format you choose will depend on which device you own.  The first dedicated eBook reader, the Rocket eBook, hit the market back in 1998.  It weighed about 22 ounces and could hold about 10 average-sized novels.  Ebook readers have come a long way since.  Many of the more popular eBook readers today are multi-purpose devices; however, they all excel at what users want most.  They’re easy to use, highly portable and capable of holding the equivalent of hundreds of books.