eBooks 101: part 1

eBooks are one of those topics many of you are very familiar with and others don’t know very much about. So, I thought it might be a good time to go over the basics in case you’re new to the idea.

Let me start off by saying that as both a reader and a writer, I love physical books. Here’s a picture of the coat closet I turned into a tiny library to prove it.


But I also love electronic books (we’ll call them eBooks from now on in this article.)  Here’s a couple of screenshots of my Kindle library, which contains as many books as my physical library.


Let’s start with basics – eBook is a term used to describe a file designed to be read on an electronic device, usually an eReader, tablet or smartphone. You can also read an eBook on your PC, but they are generally consumed on hand-held devices and meant to be portable like a physical copy of a book.

eBooks and eMagazines are usually formatted to provide a similar look to the page of a physical publication. 


eBooks come in different file formats depending on where you purchase them. Some of the more common formats are ePub, PDF, plain TXT and Amazon’s .azw format for Kindle books.

 You turn the pages by simply swiping on touchscreen devices. On some older eReaders, you push a button. What’s the difference between an eReader and a tablet? eReaders are designed just for reading and have limited functions. They often have a display that’s very friendly on the eyes, known as eInk. Sometimes the screen is not illuminated like a tablet, you need to have a light on to read on these eReaders.

While printing eBooks can be a temptation, it’s usually a bad idea that will run through a lot of ink.

Tablets and smartphones are designed to be Internet appliances. These devices run apps that let you surf the web, read e-mail, play games and do other work in addition to allowing you to read eBooks. To read books on your tablet, you’ll need to download a reader app. These apps can be found in the Google Play store for an Android tablet, the Apple App store for an iPad, and are also available for PC and Mac. Most often they are free.

In Part 2 of this article, we’ll look at how to purchase and download eBooks.

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