What’s an eBook?

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eBooks are electronic versions of previously published books that can be downloaded using free programs or purchased on CD/DVD. Some eBooks have search features and hyperlinks. They can be self-published or sold by publishers who take a share of profits. Consumers should check for free copies before buying.

The term eBook has several definitions, but in many cases it is an electronic version of a previously published and printed book. Usually, readers can download one using one of several free programs or purchase a copy of a CD or DVD to download. The book can then be read on a computer screen, laptop, eBook reader, or smartphone. Some computers offer programs to make the experience more like reading a book and have the ability to “turn pages” as you would a normal book.

Not all eBooks are free. Some libraries, particularly university libraries, offer free access to many texts, but in general, you must purchase contemporary popular novels or popular non-fiction works. This type of book is also not necessarily in the public domain. A person may have access to read them, but still need to use citation methods if he cites them, or he might need to ask the author if the book can be cited or reproduced.

Sometimes, books are written specifically for the Internet and may contain useful features such as word or topic searches and hyperlinks to other sites or to other sections of the text. In fact, some authors have found the eBook to be the perfect way to self-publish. They cut out middlemen like agents and publishers and can offer their novels or nonfiction for a small fee to interested readers.

There are, however, publishers who sell to beginning writers and take a share of the writer’s profits, sometimes a large amount. Such publishers may seriously increase the amount of fiction available, or they may charge upfront fees from the writer, such as the many vanity presses that will publish an author’s book for a price. Usually, advertising is left to the author.
Occasionally, a well-adapted eBook from a print source may also include search features or may include hyperlinks. Some novice authors can even publish their work without charging for downloads. When this is the case, it is highly advisable that authors protect their work before offering it, as theft of original work remains a problem on the Internet.
Before buying an eBook, consumers should make sure they can’t get a copy for free. Buyers are more likely to be able to access material in the public domain, where works by classic authors such as Shakespeare or Chaucer can be found in abundance. However, readers probably won’t find books by famous novelists for free. It’s also a good idea for anyone who has never read this type of book before to try a free one. Some people find the format easily adaptable, while others lack the comfort of flipping through the well-worn pages of a beloved book or the crisp, fresh smell of a new novel.

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