Tuesday, May 17, 2011

eBook Thoughts #2 - What is an eBook?

What is an eBook? Essentially, its a book in digital form, designed for reading on any number of electronic devices. eBooks aren't new, people have been reading books on computers for years, but with the creation of the eReader, they've taken on a new significance. I actually remember reading a few novels and comic books on my computer back in high school... It wasn't the most pleasant of ways to do it, but they did the trick.

At the times, it was a glorified text file, often even opening in a text editing program to be read. Slowly, comic books became more widely accepted in digital form, since the geeks are usually the first to accept anything but changes to Episode IV. A few reading programs and formats came out, like the .cbr (Comic book reader) format, which was similar to a pdf file, allowing the reader to zoom in and flip pages in a more natural fashion.

Technical and scholarly books were around too, some even offered free in libraries and a few enterprising authors posted their work online for the masses to read. A large jumble of "Fan Fiction" slinked out there too. For many a young man or woman, these fan created stories about their favorite characters from movies, cartoons and video games were their first experience with the eBook reading method. (Be warned, most of Fan Fiction is sexual in nature, so search with care)

Text files are small, too. An entire library of books can take up less space than a single movie file, or a collection of photos. One early method of disseminating bootlegged, scanned copies of books on less reputable sites was to embed the novel in a photo of the cover. Downloaders could then manually change the extension and unzip the book.

eBooks are cheap too, of course. no dead trees, no dead glue monsters, the foil rats have grown to dangerous populations in Norway without the production of covers to cull the herds. All you need is a edited book, a decent cover and a computer.

But reading a book on a computer screen is kind of crappy. It's backlit, flickery, bright, fake and awkward, even on a laptop. And of course, it loses all of the charm a real book has. So for a long time, that's how things stayed.

Then e-Ink was created....

No comments:

Post a Comment