What is an eBook?

An eBook is a completely electronic version of a book. eBooks can be read on home computers, laptop computers, and handheld PDAs, in addition to specialized eBook readers. eBook readers are usually pre-installed on newer computers and they can be downloaded for free from the Web sites of software companies like MobiPocket, Sony, Amazon, Adobe and Microsoft.

What makes ebooks so convenient is that they are usually less expensive than a regular paper book, they can be ordered, then instantly downloaded with the reader able to go from purchase to reading withing minutes. Hundreds of ebooks can be stored on one device, thus the problem of carrying several books at once is eliminated.

What are some eBook formats?

The majority of eBooks come in one of four formats (which Barkley Publishing provides):

  1. Adobe Acrobat .PDF which includes the Adobe Reader and the new, (and very convenient) Adobe Digital Editions. This works for PC's and Macintosh computers.

  2. Microsoft Reader .lit for Windows Mobileā„¢ 2003 based Pocket PC and Phone Edition devices, Windows Mobile 2003, Second Edition based Pocket PC and Phone Edition devices, Windows Mobile 5.0 based Pocket PC and Phone Edition devices. (It is not compatible with Windows Mobile-based Smartphone devices.)

  3. MobiPocket Reader .PRC, for mobile devices, such as PalmOS, PocketPC, Symbian OS, Blackberry, Franklin, iLiad, Pepper-Pad, BenQ-siemens, smartphones and also Windows PC and Tablet PCs.

  4. eReader .pdb Palm OS, Pocket PC & Windows, Windows Mobile Smartphone, Symbian, Windows, Mac, OQO.

  5. Sony Reader: specifically designed for their Sony Reader. The screen, while looking more like ink on paper is also only in black and white, so color illustrations are not possible. However, Adobe PDF's are viewable on the Sony Reader as long as they are not copy protected with any DRM (Digital Rights Management.)

  6. Amazon's Kindle: specifically designed for their Kindle Reader. As of 2/01/2008 these units are sold out and there is a waiting list.

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What are the links to the various readers?
Adobe Reader PDF format: http://www.adobe.com/products/reader/

Adobe DigitalEditions PDF format: http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/

Microsoft Reader .lit format: http://www.microsoft.com/reader/downloads/default.mspx

MobiPocket Reader .PRC: For handheld devices, most of the time this software is preloaded into the device by the manufacturer. If not, you can go to: http://www.mobipocket.com/en/DownloadSoft/ProductDetailsReader.asp and click on the icon of your device to be taken to your device's specific reader download.

For the MobiPocket Desktop for PC (only)-a digital bookshelf for organizing and reading your ebook library collection: http://www.mobipocket.com/en/DownloadSoft/ProductDetailsReader.asp

eReader .pdb format: http://www.ereader.com/product/browse/software

Sony Reader BBeB (Broad Band eBook) The software comes packaged with the unit. However, you candownload a free version for your PC at: http://ebookstore.sony.com/downloadclient.html

Amazon Kindle The link to the Kindle unit is: http://www.amazon.com

How do I decide which format to download?

Adobe PDF will look the most "designed" keeping the graphic style and layout a designer intends for a paper book. The text does not reflow as the page gets resized and any inset images will remain embedded exactly as placed. However, the other reader software for the handheld readers does allow for reflowing text. This is very convenient when it comes to resizing text, but does not make for "pretty pages." If you plan to read the book solely on your computer, it would be better in the PDF format. However, if you need it for a handheld device, check with your manufacturer to find out if they recommend MobiPocket Reader, the eReader, or the Microsoft Reader. For the Sony eReader and the Kindle, those must be purchased in their own websites. All the handheld reader type formats are good but just without the additional "graphic" formatting. However, any illustrations will be included.

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