Wednesday, 22 June 2011

What is an eBook

I've told many people that my first novel, The Story of Plan B. is released as an eBook (here on Smashwords and here on Amazon)
There are some misconceptions as to what exactly an eBook is, as well as a self-published eBook.

Wikipedia, that font of all online knowledge defines it as a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices.

This raises more questions: What is meant by digital form? and what are other electronic devices.

Digital Form.
Smashwords is a well established, ebook self-publishing and distribution platform, used by many writers. Note that it does not provide editing, quality control, proof reading, or book cover design. It publishes manuscripts on an as-is basis and authors must assume responsibility for the quality of the book and for their own book promotion.

Smashwords converts books and distributes them in the following formats:
  • ePub - (electronic publication) this is a free and open e-book standard by the International Digital Publishing Forum. Used by iPads, iPhones, Sony Reade, Kobo, Barnes and Noble Nook, Aldiko and many others I've never head of
  • Mobi - this is the format for the hugely popular Kindle, an Amazon exclusive eReader and any Kindle for PC software or Kindle for Mac software
  • PDF - Adobe reader for your PC or phone. Formatting may not be perfect on your phone. It's a bit wonky on mine
  • HTML - read on any web browser on your PC or whatever
  • RTF - read on any word processor
  • LRF - used by old Sony Readers. The new ones now use ePub.
  • PDB - a format primarily used on Palm Pilot devices, but readers are available for PalmOS, Symbian OS, Windows Mobile Pocket PC/Smartphone, PCs and Macs
  • Plain Text - when nothing fancy will do
eBooks may be read on PCs, Laptops or Macs but are more often read on dedicated hardware devices known as e-Readers or e-book devices. These include:
  • PC Desktop, laptop, netbook. Download Kindle for PC software and download the .mobi file
  • Mac. Download Kindle for Mac software and download the .mobi file
  • Kindle. Download the .mobi file
  • iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone. Download the ePub file. 
  • Sony Reader. Download the ePub file.
  • Barnes and Noble Nook. Download the ePub file. (USA only I think)
  • Mobile Phone. Take your pick. You can use the app called Stanza or RTF or PDF or HTML...
Confession: I am a Kindle convert. They are wonderful.
Did you know you can get a Kindle to read the text to you? Fantastic for anyone with impaired vision. You can write in the margins, mark a page to return to, highlight quotes, start reading from where you last stopped and lots of other things.
Imagine taking one Kindle on holiday instead of half a suitcase full of books that is still not enough to get you through a fortnight of flights and holiday relaxation. One Kindle.
Basically, if you can read this blog, you can read an eBook. (So why not download mine now?)


Aoife.Troxel said...

I wish I had a kindle, they're so cool! That's neat about having it read it to you, what kind of voice does it have? :)

jon said...

Nice roundup -- all those formats can get confusing!

For the record, I have a Nook Color and absolutely love it. A fantastic piece of design and I find I'm buying more books than ever.

Jon, Children's Book Insider

Emerging Writer said...

ooo a Nook color - you'll have to post a picture of it. I don't think we can get them here. The Kindle is only black and white.
Thanks for dropping by.

Emerging Writer said...

Aoife, the voice is a bit Stephen Hawkings, if you know what I mean.