So What is an E-Book?
An electronic book (also e-book, ebook, digital book) is a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices. Sometimes the equivalent of a conventional printed book, e-books can also be born digital. The Oxford Dictionary of English defines the e-book as "an electronic version of a printed book," but e-books can and do exist without any printed equivalent. E-books are usually read on dedicated hardware devices known as e-Readers or e-book devices. Personal computers and some cell phones can also be used to read e-books.
Among the earliest general e-books were those in Project Gutenberg, in 1971. One early e-book implementation was the desktop prototype for a proposed notebook computer, the Dynabook, in the 1970s at PARC: a general-purpose portable personal computer capable of displaying books for reading.Understanding the Different E-Book Formats
There are a variety of e-book formats used to create and publish e-books. A writer or publisher has many options when it comes to choosing a format for production. Every format has its proponents and champions, and debates over which format is best can become intense.
The EPUB format is rapidly gaining popularity and as of 2011 is the most widely supported vendor-independent XML-based e-book format. This format is widely supported by the many eBook readers out there, including the Kobo eReader, Apple's iBooks app running on iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, Barnes and Noble Nook, Sony Reader, BeBook, Bookeen Cybook Gen3 (with firmware v. 2 and up), COOL-ER, Adobe Digital Editions, Lexcycle Stanza, BookGlutton, AZARDI, FBReader, Aldiko and WordPlayer on Android, Freda on Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7, and the Mozilla Firefox add-on EPUBReader.
With the launch of the Kindle eBook reader, Amazon.com created the proprietary format, AZW. It is based on the Mobipocket standard, with a slightly different serial number scheme (it uses an asterisk instead of a dollar sign) and its own DRM formatting. Because the eBooks bought on the Kindle are delivered over its wireless system called Whispernet, the user does not see the AZW files during the download process. The Kindle format is now available on a variety of platforms.
The Mobipocket Reader has a home page library. Readers can add blank pages in any part of a book and add free-hand drawings. Annotations � highlights, bookmarks, corrections, notes, and drawings � can be applied, organized, and recalled from a single location. Images are converted to GIF format and have a maximum size of 64K, sufficient for mobile phones with small screens, but rather restrictive for newer gadgets. Mobipocket Reader has electronic bookmarks, and a built-in dictionary.
The reader has a full screen mode for reading and support for many PDAs, Communicators, and Smartphones. Mobipocket products support most Windows, Symbian, BlackBerry and Palm operating systems. Using WINE, the reader works under Linux or Mac OS X. Third-party applications like Okular and FBReader can also be used under Linux or Mac OS X, but they work only with unencrypted files.
Mobipocket has developed an .epub to .mobi converter called KindleGen (supports IDPF 1.0 and IDPF 2.0 epub format, according to the company).
Notably, Eastern European letters with diacritical marks are not supportedSource :