The internet has revolutionized many areas of modern daily life, with information and communication being more accessible and reliable than ever. The world of academia has welcomed the internet, with information including online journals and ebooks being available in a flash. And now the ebook is turning towards the general public, offering a variety of texts in ebook format for the everyday reader.
An ebook is an electronic or digital book. The information is stored in a digital format which is designed to be read by as many different platforms and readers as possible. The electronic book is produced through document scanning using an OCR program which reproduces text electronically to a high quality. Some are only electronically published and so have the text entered into the correct format immediately. The format of the ebook can differ and each format offers its own special features. Electronic books can produce a wide range of effects such as grey scale or colour images, annotations, video and music clips, tables and searchable information. The ebook is an exciting and functional way to produce and read interactive information.
An ebook is made up of e-documents which each make up the pages. It is usually purchased for a low price and is then received immediately. And it is either received through an e-mail or downloaded from the web from a specified link. The electronic book is circulated by publishers, and can be sold in part, in sections or in full. Some publishers provide free samples of them so that readers can familiarize themselves with the format and usability as they are a relatively new concept for the general public.
As with any other product, ebooks are subject to electronic copyright and so can not be copied or passed on to other people. Although they are inexpensive to purchase, they offer many advantages to the publishers. Firstly, the production costs are low as there are no storage or printing costs, and immediate receipt through online delivery means lower prices can be maintained. Also, the sales are direct to the reader and so middle men can be skipped. These advantages make the ebook a cost effective purchase for the reader and so an attractive option.
Ebooks serve a variety of purposes and are produced in a variety of texts such as online magazines known as e-zines, academic journals, comic books, poetry anthologies and novellas. When the ebook first arrived it was initially for non fiction informative texts only, but the popularity and usability has encouraged the ebook to be used much more widely. It is predicted that they will eventually replace the printed book, with book shops only selling celebrity books and independent bookstores becoming obsolete. Amazon is currently leading the way as it holds the biggest ebook library.
The ebook industry is definitely a growing industry. Initially only independent publishers were using the electronic book to publish experimental and new voices in the literary world, taking advantage of the low production costs and simple distribution. This created a wave of expectation and interest and now major publishers are showing interest in the ebook phenomenon. Some electronic publishing is used in addition to printed paper copies for added sales and marketing whilst others are sold solely in electronic format.
The production of ebooks is now subject to the International Digital Publishing Forum which means that a standard is beginning to be set. There has even been an ebook nominated for a literary prize; in 1998 online originals published which was nominated for the Booker prize. ebooks now have their own best seller lists and awards such as the Dream Realm Award for fiction which was established in 2002.