Understanding E-books

Pros and Cons of E-Books.

An e-book is a digital or electronic copy of a book. Just like e-mail is digital mail.

With the advancement of technology an entire library can be referenced and indexed just at the tip of your fingertips. Millions upon millions of text can be stored in devices that get smaller and smaller every year.

E-books have certainly opened more doors for us to enjoy literature.

Books in digital form can be indexed and searched for a particular text in a flash. With the advancements in technology even e-books captured in image formats can be searched.

E-books take up less space. An entire volume of encyclopedia can be stored in a single compact disk.

Devices for reading e-books make it possible to read even in low light

Texts in e-books can be magnified, changed to a different font or color. This feature will enable handicapped readers an option for possibly reading more books.

They can be converted to audio books using text-to-speech software.

They are versatile and readily portable to different media and platforms.

Distribution and Reproduction can be done instantly and at a low cost.

Errors can be easily rectified just like downloading a patch for software.

Publishing requirements aren’t as difficult to produce as requirements for normal books. They can be published by independent publishing entities.

They are relatively cheaper and easier to maintain.

E-books are easily converted to any format desired even to a database.

The potentials of e-books may be limitless but they also have their disadvantages. Some advantages of e-books over standard books can also be a double edged sword.

They cause eyestrain. Extended periods of reading can also cause other health-related problems.

You always need a power source for your device for you to be able to read.

Electronic media wears and tears easier than standard books. A scratched CD might be useless compared to a book with a torn page.

Has no more ‘collectors item’ value to it. There are no rare e-books.

Certain software requires upgrades and can cause incompatibilities.

Proves too easy to be copied illegally. Copies can just be sent through emails.

Types of E-books.

E-books come in different formats. Each format was designed for a certain purpose. The most common formats used for e-books are as follows:

Plain text, is the most basic format of them all. Plain text can be easily read by almost all computers and related devices.

Image files, these books primarily comprise of snap shots of the pages of a book. Zooming is possible but may compromise the quality of the displayed item.

Rich Text Format (RTF), is a standard file set by Microsoft Corporation. RTF files like HTML (HyperText Markup Language) files; they are text files that have special tags or markups.

Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), quite similar to an RTF and an HTML, the main difference is that the markups can come from sets that can vary.

eXtensible Markup Language (XML) is derived from (SGML) also a markup language but using a markup set that conforms to the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) standard

TeX is an e-book format that is popular with the academe. It specializes in e-books for math, science and computers. Its best feature is in representing mathematical formula.

PostScript is defined as a page description format. It is used essentially in desktop publishing. PostScript files have the ‘.ps’ extension

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format by Adobe Systems. A widely accepted format for its robustness and many features.

eReader is file format normally associated with Palm Digital Media electronic books (Palm Digital Media)
E-books from digital Media are usually encrypted. Readers are required to buy the decryption key, which are usually the credit card number and the buyer’s full name.

Publishing e-books are proving to be profitable especially with laws regarding electronic copyrights are becoming stricter. E-books are great sources of reading material some of them you can actually get for free. There are numerous web sites that offer writers a place to showcase their writing. In a way writers gain public exposure and readers get variety. The quality is often good.

No matter how many kinds of e-books out there, no matter how trivial or important the advantages or disadvantages of e-books, E-books are definitely here to stay.

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