What is an eBook? An eBook is a digital version of a print book that you download from the Internet and read on a PC or handheld electronic device such as a Palm pilot. There are no shipping charges and no waiting. You can order an eBook and start reading now!
You’ll need Adobe Reader in order to view electronic publications such as eBooks on your PC. To download Adobe Reader 6 click here. Adobe® Acrobat® eBook Reader™ software displays the pages of your eBooks in full color with the high quality and careful design you expect from printed books. Full-text search capability, text highlights and annotation, and bookmarks make reading an eBook easier than ever. A page navigator bar shows where you are in the book; simply use the mouse to go to any page.
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Churning steadily just below the high profile of the music industry’s digital drama, electronic publishing has quietly become a major force in the worlds of media and technology. According to figures released in June 2004 by the Open eBook Forum, eBook units sold for the first quarter 2004 were up 46% and eBook revenues were up 28% over the same quarter in 2003. This compares to an annual growth rate of about 5% in traditional print publishing. “…eBooks have hit a new high mark for sales,” said Open eBook Forum President Steve Potash. “eBooks represent the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry.”
Until now, buying books electronically meant going to an Internet bookseller’s Web site, finding the title you want, paying with a credit card, and having the book shipped from a warehouse to your home or office. While there’s no question that this e-commerce model increases buyer convenience and streamlines distribution, it does not represent a significant advance over the real-world experience of buying a book in a brick-and-mortar store. The buying process incorporates rapidly evolving technologies, but the content remains decidedly low-tech: paper, ink, and glue.
A more visionary scenario comes from futurists and science fiction writers who have long imagined the advent of electronic books – eBooks. eBooks can be read on PCs, laptops, or handheld devices and display the content found in traditional books, eliminating the need for books as we know them. We’re a long way from abandoning traditional books, but the first eBooks have arrived.
Although eBooks have been described as dead in media reports (and despite Barnes & Noble.com’s decision to stop selling eBooks), there are some vital signs in the marketplace. Statistics from both the Association of American Publishers and the Open eBook Forum show a small but growing market.
For now, e-books are an afterthought in the publishing world. Less than 500 000 e-books were sold in the US in 2002, compared with more than 1.5 billion printed books, say estimates from researchers at Ipsos-Insight in Chicago. According to most predictions, eBooks will remain a niche, but as eBook hardware prices fall, consumer awareness and demand build and today’s university students enter the mainstream, eBooks should enjoy a nice ride.
Why choose eBooks?
- You can buy and read an eBook immediately without having to wait for the title to be shipped, and you don’t have to pay for postage.
- eBooks are generally cheaper than paper books.
- You can take an eBook with you anywhere you take your laptop or handheld computer.
- You can get books and documents that may be difficult to find in print or out of print and often contain timely information.
- You can easily assemble personal libraries of fiction, non-fiction and reference books, as well as download book samplers.
- You can enter a key word or two and easily search for the specific passage of information you want. (Particularly useful for historical, self help and reference books. )
- You can read an eBook on almost 100% of handheld computers in low to no light situations.
- eBooks are environmentally sustainable, not requiring paper and glue.
- Students can receive customized textbooks from teachers and professors that include course syllabi, lecture outlines, book excerpts, journal articles, and graphically rich quantitative data.
- Travellers can create electronic compilations of guidebooks, phrase books, maps, and currency converters.
- Business-people can compile eBooks containing research reports, stock reports, competitive information, industry analyses and credit reports.
- Attorneys can gather case-specific electronic volumes of court records, deposition transcripts, e-mail messages and other evidentiary materials.
- Technical personnel can easily carry suites of complex technical manuals.
What format do eBooks take?
There are three main formats in which you can buy eBooks:
- Adobe PDF
- Palm Reader
- Microsoft Reader
The software required to read eBooks for all three formats is free and easy to download off the Internet.
What is the eBook market like?
February 2004: “eBooks again witnessed a tremendous month with sales up 278.4 percent for this small category ($900,000).” Source: Association of American Publishers.
Unit Sales 2003 (U.S): Retailers reported 1,038,086 units sold. A total of 377,095 eBooks were sold in Q3 2003 alone, a 64% increase over the same period in 2002, during which time 229,990 units were sold.
Revenues: $2,591,469 in sales were logged by retailers in Q3 2003, a 37% increase over the same period in 2002 during which time retailers reported $1,893,437 on sales of eBooks.
Number of titles published: The total number of eBooks published in Q3 2003 was 2,159, a 74% increase over the same period in 2002, during which time 1,241 titles were published. Source: Open eBook Forum