E-Books, Part 1: I read throughout a four-hour power outage

Recently, several blog posts have made me think about e-books.

Mig at eWritings released an e-book, The SEO Book of WordPress Blogs, which is a great resource for WordPress bloggers. Then Yvonne at Grow Your Writing Business posted a picture of a library bookcase chair, which led to my comment about e-books and Yvonne’s follow-on question. Liz at Successful Blog posted 7 Reasons eBooks are Losing Readers:

Do you download eBooks?
Most of us do. We download them; print them; and read them – or we set them aside and forget them. eBooks used to seem a bargain. After the third, fifth, seventh download, we’re finding they’ve got their drawbacks. The investment seems to grow with each one.

Some of us read them on our computers. But most eBooks are darn long for that.

Then a few days ago, we had a power outage that lasted for more than four hours. Since it was the middle of the night, most people probably didn’t even know until they woke up the next morning. But I’m a night owl so I was right in the middle of work. My husband came out to my office (a small building in the backyard) with a flashlight to help me get back into the house. He was bored – no TV, no computer, no radio, no light to read. However, I had my lighted e-book reader and sat in comfort reading a novel for the entire time we were without power.

This combination of blog posts and power outage led me to write about e-books.

NetLingo defines e-book as follows:

short for electronic book
(also seen as ebook and eBook) Simply put, it’s a book that can be downloaded and read on a computer or other digital device. For example, envision a brave new world where freshmen college students load their electronic book readers with “e-books” that contain their curricula and textbooks for the next four years, then they simply log on to the Internet for updates. The challenge is developing a hardware medium that will make e-reading more soothing on the eyes. For most e-book formats, you need a PDA or handheld device. Advances are being made regard to the quality of e-book readers …

In my mind, there are three distinct kinds of e-books:

  1. A nonfiction (usually how-to) book written specifically as an e-book in one format, usually PDF or a proprietary format that must be read on a computer, often shorter than a typical book, written and published by an individual or a company other than a publishing company

  2. A nonfiction or fiction book, typically book-length (40,000 words+) written by an author and published by a publishing company or self-published, often available in print and multiple electronic formats
  3. An electronic reading device to read e-books

I’ll discuss each of these in more detail in future posts in this series.

Related Posts:
Read an E-Book Week
Self-Publishing Primer: Part 13 – Do I need a Web site – and should I make my book available as an e-book?

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