What is an eBook? An electronic book (eBook for short) is a book published in digital format. Originally eBooks were principally a converted electronic version of a print published book. The demand for books in digital format has increased exponentially (an estimated 28% of Americans read at least one eBook during 2015), and coupled with lower publishing costs and a boom in eBook reading technology, the prevalence of eBooks with no print alternative is extensive.
An eBook typically consists of text and images, relatively consistent to the printed alternative, although a key differentiator in many eBooks is interactivity, leveraging internal links and the power of the internet. EBooks are often designed for enjoyment on dedicated e-readers, such as Amazon’s popular Kindle product. However, the ubiquitous nature of mobile phones, tablets and other devices with controllable viewing screens has heightened eBook consumption and minimized the requirement for an exclusive eBook reading device.
A 5% increase in eBook consumption during the past 12 months has many experts predicting e-publishing will overtake traditional publishing in the not so distant future.
eBooks are published, sold and downloaded in a variety of formats to ensure device compatibility. The most common formats include:
ePUB - ePub is an eBook version developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum. It is based on XHTML and XML technologies and is compatible with devices such as Apple's iPad, iPhone, Sony readers, Kobo e-reader and Nook from Barnes and Noble.
AZW - AZW is the Amazon adopted format utilized on Kindle devices. It is similar to MOBI and can be leveraged by non-Kindle devices, such as smartphones and tablets, through the availability of Kindle apps.
PDF - Perhaps the most commonly understand format is PDF, constructed for Adobe products. Native support for PDF is ubiquitous, or can be achieved through the free download of Adobe Reader.
MOBI - MOBI is MobiPocket’s eBook reading software for use on PDAs and smartphones. A range of third-party readers can view MOBI devices including Stanza, FBReader, Kindle and STDU Viewer.
ODF - The default format for OpenOffice, a popular alternative to MS Office, is ODF. ODF is an XML-based construct for compatible eBook files.
There are a range of motivations for eBooks creation. Most commonly individuals or businesses create fiction or nonfiction books to generate revenues through sales. Increasingly prevalent is the delivery of eBooks as a source of valuable content to customers. Numerous businesses use free eBooks as a lead generation tool, provided in exchange for a prospect's contact information.
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