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The Ubiquitous Ebook

Jul 22, 2008
The ebook or electronic book is also named e-book or eco-book. It is the digital equal to the traditional printed book. The contents are read on personal computers or by the use of hardware devices called ebook readers.

The first thinking was triggered off by Michael Hart in the 1970`s. He reasoned that the greatest value of a computer should be not merely computing but also storing material, retrieving it and searching for knowledge kept in libraries. The birth of the ebook era started with the copy of Declaration of Independence. From these humble beginnings kicked off Project Gutenberg. Today there are 20,000 free texts and more than 100,000 books available. Each month 3,000,000 ebooks are downloaded - undoubtedly impressive figures in the history of ebooks. When it made its debut in the web the material was easily shared and stored. Quickly the idea picked up and large scale dissemination began to take place.

At first ebooks covered special areas and were meant to be documents to be shared by those in the field. The subject varied from technical manuals to manufacturing techniques. Soon stuff appeared meant only for adults. The market was thus fractured and led rise to ideas of making it more universal and reachable.

Many formats of ebooks appeared and spread supported by branded software. But the market became more fragmented with multiple readers using multiple formats. Ebook failed to become a mainstream product. A dual movement developed. There were ebook publishers who distributed old and rare books while new writers and publishers struck out on their own offering online books creating new readers and clients. Catalogues became available on the net and the message of ebooks began to spread to the public.

Soon it was romance stories that captured the popularity zone. It sometimes meant `guilty pleasure` for the general public. Such types of works could be easily located and bought online from the confines and privacy of one`s own home. It was also easy to read such stuff without others knowing about the guilty tastes. The world did not quite know about the success of such `romantic books`.

But human civilization has a tendency to separate the grain from the chaff and soon big strides began to be taken in the diffusion of knowledge through ebooks. It has led to the spawning of new publishing houses and manufacturers of electronics. More ebook hardware readers are being released in the market that will be easy for the public pockets and convenience. They will apply for portable computers, smart-phones and even game consoles.

Slowly the public are seeing people reading ebooks on laptops or on portable hand-held computers in eateries and coffee parlours. On the mobile phone one can read them in installments by downloading the same. In Japan the sales have jumped astronomically. Now one can find the type of books one wants - the choice of ebooks is widening. Daring new authors are entering the hallowed zone of books and reading.

Those aiming to publish ebooks have many options as regards file format. There are heated debates about which format is the best. For works like dictionaries, references and the like ebooks are ideal for easy searches and cross references can be made. On an average 500 ebooks can be stored in one CD. They never run out of print and authors can continue to earn royalties. Some of them can be read not only in dim light but also in total darkness because of some internal device. The ebook is easy to hold and does not require use of both hands. Reproduction costs are negligible.
About the Author
This article can be accessed in portuguese from the Article section of page www.polomercantil.com.br/livros.php Roberto Sedycias works as IT consultant for www.PoloMercantil.com.br
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