Impact of eBooks on the Publishing Industry
In most cases this is your first experience with electronic books, and you will not have heard the term ebook. As the little “e” to the left indicates, this is an electronic book. Or better yet, a book that can be read electronically either on your computer or an electronic reading device.
it may be too early to tell, it can be argued that the
ebook may have as much influence on the publishing
industry as Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press.
Gutenberg allowed the creation of inexpensive,
mass-produced books at a time when a single volume would
literally be printed by hand by a single individual.
Depending on the complexity, this process could take
months if not years to complete.
Like Gutenberg, the ebook has the effect of
lowering costs for the consumer as well as production
costs. A combination of ebook technology and the Internet
is allowing more and more voices to be read. Thousands of
quality writers that were not being read are now finding a
venue through ebooks.
eBooks also seem to be acquiring a visage of
legitimacy among the literary world. For example, on March
14, 2000 Stephen King released Riding
the Bullet exclusively as an ebook. In the first day
alone he sold over 40,000 copies. As another example, the Frankfurt Book Fair established seven book
awards for ebooks with a total of $100,000 in prizes.
are a new frontier that is still in the process of being
born. There are presently no standards for the design of
an ebook, or implementation of the technology that it is
dependent on. Since the form of the ebook changes and will
change with the development of the technology that
“presents” it, there is in reality a fluidity that
must be taken into account and accepted until some type of
standards are created.
Promise of eBooks
you may have guessed, an ebook brings with it a number of
advantages over the traditional paper book. In a nutshell
this would be readability, usability, multimedia
capability, changeability, portability and availability.
Another advantage of ebooks over the
traditional paper book is cost. You will find that fiction
ebooks normally cost between $3.00 and $5.00, with
nonfiction ebooks normally priced higher. And since a tree
wasn’t killed to print the book, you are also helping
The first step in purchasing an ebook is to
find a reputable publisher that produces quality work
within genres that you have a general interest in. One way
to do this is by using the search engine Google.
Type in “ebook publisher,” “ebook directory” or
your favorite genre, such as “science fiction ebooks,”
and you’ll be on your way.
As you browse through ebook selections,
you’ll notice that they are made available in a variety
of formats. Each format is specific to the type of device
you wish to read the ebook on, and will require that
specific reader software is installed on either your
reading device or computer. Here is a list of formats and
Something that you will quickly learn is that
all the reader software is available for free from the
manufacturers. You can read a detailed explanation on each
device as well as find corresponding links for all
software at: http://www.double-dragon-ebooks.com/software.html.
Practicality of eBooks
The format you decide on will depend on the
device you wish to use to read the ebook. Reading devices
can fall into two categories: dedicated (e.g., Rocket
e-Books) and non-dedicated (e.g., PDAs).
Devices that are dedicated
to reading only ebooks have a number of advantages and
disadvantages. Perhaps the main advantage is that these
devices have been designed specifically for reading and
will be tuned
for this use. In most cases the screens may be bigger and
brighter, the fonts clearer and the controls positioned in
such a way as to give ease and comfort.
Non-dedicated reading devices on the other
hand will also help you with your scheduling, phone
numbers and addresses, and perhaps allow you to play a
game or two. The obvious advantage of a non-dedicated
reading device is that you may already have one, or may be
planning to buy one and haven’t considered reading an
ebook with it. Personally
I have a Sony Clie for my business and personal needs, and
carry a number of ebook titles on it. Since I carry this
device with me everywhere I go, it also means that I
always have a number of books available at my finger tips
that I can read when I get stuck waiting for extended
periods of time.
But this isn’t to say that a dedicated
reading device doesn’t have its place or function. I own
two Rocket e-Books that I keep in the house or take on
vacation with me. Given the choice I prefer the Rocket
e-Book when I am taking it easy and reading for pleasure.
The device itself is smaller than a trade paperback (5.5
by 7 inches) and the type can be switched between large
and small. I set the small type to be about the same size as that found
within a regular paperback novel; the large type is about
the size of the print found in a children’s book.
I can now carry 60 to 100 full size paperbacks, and
read at night with the lights off because the Rocket
e-Book has an adjustable white backlit screen that
doesn’t wake my wife.
She appreciates this more than me I think, since I
read every night.
It All Together
remember, an ebook is simply “software” for your
reading device…so there is nothing magical about it. But
you must use the correct ebook format with the
corresponding reader software.
Still unsure? Here are a couple of
If you choose to read on your laptop or
desktop computer, use the Adobe
PDF format and Adobe Acrobat Reader software
(it’s probably already installed on your computer). This
format will give you the best possible reading
“experience” because the fonts are clear, the page is
white and full color illustrations may be included at no
If you want to read your ebook on a Palm
device (m500, Sony, etc.), I would use the Palm Reader
software. While you’ll only get a text representation of
the ebook, you’ll find that the fonts are clear and
controls easy to use with one hand.
you are using a Window CE device, then MS-Reader is your
choice. I have no personal experience with this software,
but I know that the desktop version of MS-Reader is clear,
easy to use and comes with a cool reading plug-in that
allows the computer to read the book to you if you have a
sound card and speaker.
At this point I hope you are able to read
your ebook! If you have further questions I can be reached