Electronic Publishing: E-Books

Electronic publishing (e-publishing, digital publishing) is a contemporary form of publishing in which content is given to audiences electronically. It has proven to be more easily accessible and effective in some ways than previous methods of publishing. A form in which electronic publishing works is in the publication of e-books (electronic books).

E-books are defined as “a book composed in or converted to digital format for display on a computer screen or handheld device” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. It is not clear when exactly the e-book was invented or came to fruition, but the first annotated idea for something like the e-book was from Bob Brown in “The Readies”, with him stating that “a simple reading machine which I can carry or move around, attach to any old electric light plug and read hundred-thousand-word novels in 10 minutes if I want to, and I want to” (NY Times article).

The first e-book is believed to be a digital copy of the Declaration of Independence made by Michael S. Hart (Michele Bartram, Government Book Talk). The production of e-books is done with conversions of physical works into a digital format, whether that be in PDF, EPUB, AZW, TXT, etc., as well as content made specifically to be published digitally (Wikipedia).

This industry has recently grown with the introduction of the internet, as well as other technological advancements. In the year 2010, e-book sales surpassed the sales of paperback and hardcover books (NY Times), but have decreased in the last 2 years (CNN). This was largely because of the new availability of apps on tablets, mobile phones, and computers, which introduced a new market for books to be sold electronically and thus delivered to the audience faster.

Other technological equipment also allowed for e-books to be available and easily accessible to audiences, with the creation of e-readers like the Amazon’s Kindles, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and Kobo’s Aura One. E-books continue to be a topic of much debate with questions of whether they will take over the book market and replace print altogether, but the innovation it has brought to the electronic publishing industry is a good one.

Electronic Publishing: An introduction and overview on the development of electronic publishing. This was written in 1995, thus collecting work from the 1960's and onward. This is a primary source of when electronic publishing was beginning to be more prominent.

E-Books: How Digital Devices and Supplementary New Technologies are Changing the Face of the Publishing Industry: An detailed introduction about e-books and the way in which they are challenging the publishing industry. It includes different viewpoints on e-books, as well as complications they bring to the industry and improvements that can be made. The article was written in 2010 by Erin Carreiro, a researcher. This is a secondary source.

The Godfather of the E-Reader: Article on Bob Brown and his manifesto, The Readies. He talks about wanting something to be invented to carry many books and to be able to read anywhere. This is a secondary source.

Government Book Talk: eBooks: The Government Printing Office offers this piece about the history of the e-book and the devices they are read on. The overview gives an chronological order of events that have made an impact on the e-book industry, as well as it's impact on America and the benefits it has brought to the citizens. This is a secondary source.

E-Books Outsell Print Books at Amazon: In 2010, more e-books were sold than print books. This article provides numbers, as well as accounts and opinions of executives at Amazon and other digital analysts. This is an primary source, as it was written in 2011 when the news of the sales was announced.

Wikipedia: E-Books: Collection of information on the e-book, as well as it's history and contemporary impact. It also includes a list of the formats in which an e-book can come and other aspects of the e-book market. This is a secondary source, although not completely reliable.

Real books are back. E-book sales plunge nearly 20%:2017 article on how e-book sales are dropping, although it was expected for sales to keep increasing from 2010 and following years. In the last years, physical books and journals have gone up. This is a primary source.