Thoughts

FAQs About eBooks

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* What are eBooks?

eBooks are just like books, with pages and all, but the pages are displayed on the screen of a computer/tablet/mobile phone/eReader. You can touch, swipe or press a button (depending on the device) to turn pages. 

* How do I buy an e-book?

You can buy eBooks on websites like Amazon.com, Kobo.com, Google Play Store, etc. There are also tons of free eBooks on these sites, and sites like Gutenberg. You need to create an account with an user id/password (and email address) before you can purchase and read eBooks from websites.

* How do I download the eBook?

On open source sites like Gutenberg, you can directly click on download link and the file will be downloaded to your device. On other sites, you need to register, click buy, pay (if not free), and then the download link will appear.

If you have an eReader like Kindle and buy eBooks on Amazon Kindle, Amazon will deliver the book directly to your kindle through Internet (Wi-Fi or 3g). For reading books on mobile/tablet/computer, you need to download the respective e-book reading app, and sign into it with your account credentials. Once you log in, your books will be visible there. You can select the book you want and start reading.

* What are common eBooks formats?

The most common eBook format is .azw/azw3 but it is supported only on Amazon Kindle device and Amazon Kindle mobile/browser app.

There are two common open eBook formats: ePub and Mobi, that are supported by most eReaders/e-book reading apps. However, Amazon Kindle doesn’t support ePub. But most other stores like Kobo, B&N, Google Books, etc. support it, and make eBooks available to download in open ePub format.

* What if I download a particular eBook format, and it is not supported on my eReader/mobile app?

You can convert eBooks from one format to another using a free computer application called Calibre or by using conversion apps/web-based converters. Just search on Google.

However, if the eBook is DRM protected (which you need to verify before buying a book), you can’t convert it. You’ll have to read it using the app or eReader device provided by the company/site that sold you the book.

* What is this eReader?

eReader or eBook Reader is a specialized device that enables you to download a book and read it. All you can do using that device is store and read e-books. Examples are Amazon Kindle, Kobo eReader Touch, Sony Reader PRS-650, Nook Simple Touch, etc.

eReaders use eInk displays which use reflective technology. That means, it uses the ambient light to display text (like a real book) and doesn’t use a backlight. This is supposed to be better for long reading schedules. However, some eReaders do support front (embedded) lights on the sides of the screen to enable you to read in the night or low-light. Many eReaders come with touch screens nowadays.

Have a look at the above video that shows the difference between five different eReaders. Although newer models have been released now, this video is a good introduction.

* Can I read eBooks on my Computer, Tablet, or Mobile phones?

Yes, absolutely. But you need to download the appropriate apps first, before you can load eBooks and read them.

* What are the advantages of eBooks?

  • You can adjust the font size, and make it large to read books comfortably.
  • eBooks don’t use paper (no cutting of trees, reduced global warming).
  • You can buy an eBook, download it, and start reading it in less than a minute.
  • The collection of books on most major eBook stores is endless. Amazon Kindle, for example, claims to have more than two million books for you to select from.
  • Your favorite eBook will never be out of stock.
  • You can carry many (thousands of) books inside your mobile or eReader to where ever you go without adding any weight.
  • Built-in dictionaries.
  • Notes can be stored as a separate file inside the eReader.

* Can you listen to an eBook? Is there an app to read the contents of an eBook, aloud?

Yes. You can listen to eBooks on your mobile device using an Android app called FBReader as it supports TTS (Text to Speech) technology, for common eBook formats like ePub and Mobi. So now you can read (listen to) eBooks when you are walking/exercising/traveling, and even if your eyes are tired due to long exposure to computer monitors. Some Kindle Fire tablets also support TTS technology.

There are audio books narrated by professional narrators (sometimes with background music). Check out Audible (expensive, but great collection) and LibreVox (Free).

* Are eBooks available as a Subscription? 

Yes. Services like Scribd, Oyster, and Kindle Unlimited allow you to download many books, for a fixed monthly fee.  Read the T&C on those sites to fully understand these services. These are somewhat like Netflix (for Movies) in the US.

* Are Books from Public Libraries available as eBooks to Download & Read on eReaders?

Yes, in some countries.

Destination Infinity

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