Millions of Internet users, along with some very large corporations, have come across a great concept. Actually the concept is not so new, but it is now rapidly picking up steam and gaining increased acceptance among the general public.
This “new discovery” is the eBook, or electronic book. It is a book that can be purchased online and downloaded to one’s Mac or PC instantly.
Although ebooks do have some disadvantages, they have many advantages as well– almost too many to list. One advantage is that ebooks are always in stock. There is never any wait (or cost) for shipping, because, as a digital file in the form of PDF for some other format, an ebook can be transferred to your reader instantly. Plus, an ebook need never be out of print.
Since ebooks can be published instantly, they can also deliver timelier information than printed volumes, something that is especially important in the fast-changing technology industry. Information that was once cutting edge can be rendered obsolete within a few months, but ebooks can be updated frequently to keep their information current.
There are other advantages for the consumer: ebooks can save money on printing costs and postage because no physical media needs to be shipped. The problem of overcrowded bookcases is eliminated.
Ebooks can also make the reading experience more interactive. The reader can click on any unfamiliar word to instantly look up its meaning, jump to cross-referenced passages instantly, access related websites and even view multimedia such as video, sound and animation.
Ebooks can be secured to prevent unauthorized edits or even opening. For example, Adobe’s Acrobat can be configured to enable a large number of restrictions, such as preventing text extraction or copying, printing, or even opening the document without a password. (Of course, these advantages can also be disadvantages from the reader’s viewpoint.)
Ebooks used to be difficult to create. There once was a large number of competing ebook formats, many PC-compatible only, and there still are. However, certain formats such as PDF, have emerged as the standard and an ebook author who uses such a standard can be certain that almost any reader will be able to open and view his ebook on almost any device.
The creation of PDFs is also much easier today. It used to require owning a full copy of Adobe Acrobat software. Now, the technology is built into some operating systems. For example, MacOS X has a technology called Quartz Extreme that makes the output of PDF files from any application fast and easy. In addition, some software, such as Apple’s Pages (part of its iWork software suite) can create handsome tables of contents that can be hyperlinked to the appropriate sections in the output PDF file.
The number of devices that can read PDF files has also grown, with Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad being two popular favorites. With the iBooks application for iPad and iPhone, ebooks in a number of different formats, including PDF, can be read on Apple’s popular devices.
The future of ebooks remains intriguing and limitless. For example, perhaps one day all of the world’s information will be in ebook form, with related information instantly hyper-linked from one ebook to another.
Perhaps the hyperlinks will be actively managed by a large network of enthusiastic readers and scholars who will be able to show each other new pathways to knowledge within the ever-expanding information universe.
Of course, if you’re the old-fashioned type who prefers to read from paper rather than a monitor, an ebook can (usually) be printed out!
You might get the impression that the Mac is the forgotten stepchild of the Internet marketing industry. But did you know that some of the top names in Internet Marketing use Macs?