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An electronic book (also e-book, eBook, digital book) is a text- and image-based publication in digital form produced on, published by, and readable on computers or other digital devices.

Sometimes the equivalent of a conventional printed book, e-books can also be born digital. The Oxford Dictionary of English defines the e-book as "an electronic version of a printed book," but e-books can and do exist without any printed equivalent. E-books are usually read on dedicated hardware devices known as e-Readers or e-book devices. Personal computers and some cell phones can also be used to read e-books.

Advantages

  • Availability - There are over 2 million free books available for download as of August 2009. Mobile availability of e-books may be provided for users with a mobile data connection, so that these e-books need not be stored on the device. An e-book can be offered indefinitely, without ever going "out of print".
  • Portability and Storage - In the space that a comparably sized print book takes up, an e-reader can potentially contain thousands of e-books, limited only by its memory capacity. If space is at a premium, such as in a backpack or at home, it can be an advantage that an e-book collection takes up little room or weight.
  • Language Accessibility - E-book websites can include the ability to translate books into many different languages, making the works available to speakers of languages not covered by printed translations.
  • E-Reader Attributes - Depending on the device, an e-book may be readable in low light or even total darkness. Many newer readers have the ability to display motion, enlarge or change fonts, use Text-to-speech software to read the text aloud, search for key terms, find definitions, or allow highlighting book marking and annotation. Devices that utilize E Ink can imitate the look and ease of readability of a printed work while consuming very little power, allowing continuous reading for weeks at time.
  • Costs - While an e-book reader costs much more than one book; the electronic texts are generally cheaper. Moreover, a great share of books are available free of charge. For example, all fiction from before the year 1900 is in the public domain. Also, libraries lend more current e-book titles for limited times, free samples are available of many publications, and there are other lending models being piloted as well. E-books can be printed for less than the price of traditional new books using new on-demand book printers.
  • Security - Depending on possible digital rights management, e-books can be backed up to recover them in the case of loss or damage and it may be possible to recover a new copy without cost from the distributor.
  • Distribution - Compared to printed publishing, it is cheaper and easier for authors to self-publish e-books. Also, the dispersal of a free e-book copy can stimulate the sales of the printed version.
  • Availability - An e-book can be purchased/borrowed, downloaded, and used immediately, whereas when one buys or borrows a book, one has to go to a bookshop or library during limited hours, or wait for a delivery.
  • Environmental Concerns - The production of e-books does not consume paper, ink, etc. Printed books use 3 times more raw materials and 78 times more water to produce albeit they do not require a machine for use.

     
     
 
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