) The electronic counterpart of a printed book, which can be viewed on a desktop computer, laptop, smartphone, tablet or e-book reader (e-reader). When traveling, a huge number of e-books can be stored in portable units, dramatically eliminating weight and volume compared to paper. Electronic bookmarks make referencing easier, and e-book readers may allow the user to annotate pages.
Although fiction and non-fiction books come in e-book formats, technical material is especially suited for e-book delivery because it can be searched. In addition, programming code examples can be copied, which is why CD-ROMs that contained examples or the entire text were often packaged inside technical paper books.
There are several e-book formats on the market, including EPUB, Mobipocket (PRC, MOBI), eReader (PDB), Kindle (AZW, KF8) and Apple iBook (EPUB variation). Many e-readers also accept generic formats, including Adobe PDF and plain text (TXT).
Amazon's Kindle and Apple's iPad
In 2007, Amazon.com revolutionized the market. The Kindle was the first e-reader with free cellular access to download e-books (see Kindle
). In 2010, Apple introduced the iPad tablet, featuring downloadable "iBooks" (see iPad
). See PDF
, Open eBook
An E-Bookshelf on the Android
iPhones and Androids are widely used to read e-books. This Aldiko bookshelf app for Android smartphones lets users download thousands of free and paid e-books. Aldiko converts publishers' content into stand-alone e-book applications. For more information, visit www.aldiko.com.
One of the First E-Book Devices
Introduced by NuvoMedia in 1998, the Rocket eBook was one of the first handheld e-book readers. Although a larger, color model was also made, the Rocket was discontinued in 2000 by Gemstar, which had acquired NuvoMedia. (Image courtesy of Gemstar TV Guide International.)