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Electronic book reader or the software form of a book read in such a reader. A small hand held device for
reading electronic books. There are about 13 different formats. Each
eBook reader will support only a subset of them. Some such as Kindles prevent people from sharing books without
paying. Owners I have talked to are very enthusiastic. They say they read much more than previously. The devices
are lighter than paper books and can hold enough reading for months. So you can take them out and read whatever
you are in the mood for. The screens work well in any light. You can get software to read most formats of eBook
on a desk top computer or even a cellphone. Electronic books are much cheaper than paper books and are instantly
available without going to a bookstore or waiting for them to arrive in the mail. They cannot do animations
because the screen cannot change fast enough to keep up. If the author discovers an error in an eBook, he can
correct it and have it automatically send to all subscribers. Romance novels lead the eBook revolution, mainly
because women did not like other people seeing the cheesy covers of the books they were reading.
Advantages of eBooks
They cost nothing to duplicate/manufacture. They sell for less than half the cost of a paper book, yet the
publisher makes more profit.
They are delivered instantly.
There is no extra charge for shipping.
If you get a backlit model, you can read in the dark without disturbing your sleeping partner. I own a Kobo
glo. It puts lots of light right where you need it without shadows. I can read where it strains my eyes to read
eBook readers are very light. It is not tiring to hold it up in bed or seated to read. You don’t have
to hold it open at a particular page. There is only one page, which changes
If the eBook is not copy protected, you can lend it to several people at once, or give it away to many
people at no cost to you. If it is, yuchh!
eBooks require no inventory. Even the tiniest bookstore can stock every eBook in print. They don’t
even require a storefront to sell them. Or looked at another way, they can keep an inventory of every book ever
published. They don’t have to guess which books to carry and how many to buy.
eBooks require no storage in your home. About 90% of the clutter my home is paper
books. You don’t need to fill your living room with book cases to contain your eBook collection.
You can carry your entire library around with you at all times, ready to use at any spare moment.
They are very light and compact.
They can be automatically updated or linked into up to the second sources of information.
Though the readers are delicate, in principle eBooks the eBooks themselves are indestructible and
intangible. ebooks are not affected by spills, pets, age, sunlight. In theory they last forever.
Potentially, you can electronically search them.
Other people nearby cannot tell what you are reading. Some people consider this a disadvantage. They like
to advertise what they are reading. Fifty Shades of Grey, published as an eBook, sold millions of
copies because housewives could read in salacious prose in public without embarrassment.
You can also get magazines and newspapers.
When you put the eReader down, it remembers exactly where you left off in each book.
You are not limited by the selection in your local library or local bookstore. You can inexpensively get
your own copy of recently published books without putting a hold on theme and waiting 9 months at the library. You don’t even have to go to a computer or a bookstore. Your
eReader is your bookstore.
Many libraries will now lend you eBooks. You don’t even need no visit the library to pick them up. I
was disappointed to discover the Victoria public library has licenced only one or two copies of each title and
so there are typically ten holds on each book. This is an artificial limitation on the technology destroying
its key benefit.
New versions can to do text to speech to read aloud to you.
The screen is specially designed to work even in bright sunlight. It is not backlit. You need some ambient
light, just like a paper book. It much better technology than a computer monitor.
You don’t need a computer. If you get the 3G model, the device is self-contained, much like a cell
It is great for travel. You can pack the equivalent of 200+ books in a compact
package so you can take a huge variety of reading material with you. You can add a memory card to expand that
As of 2014-07-03 there were more than 10 million eBooks
It can display a variety of fonts, diagrams, half tones and maps. You don’t have to stick with the
You can enlarge the fonts. Big print books are costly, heavy, bulky and often not available.
You can plug it into the USB (Universal Serial Bus)
port of your computer and it looks like a small hard drive. You can copy documents onto it.
Anyone with a word processor can become a published author.
No trees need die to satisfy your reading habit. eBooks are much more environmentally friendly than paper
books. Unsold paper books are destroyed. Paper books consume trees. The consume fossil fuels, producing
greenhouse gases, to make paper and for transport. They are a fire hazard and they end up clogging land
You can create your own eBooks and upload them to your eReader.
If you buy eBooks from Amazon or Kobo, you can remove them from your eReader, and get them again from
Amazon/Kobo without having to rebuy them. That may not be so for other sources.
A family may own a common Kindle account at Amazon. They can then read the book on any of the
Kindle’s the family owns.
You can send your PDF (Portable Document Format)
books to firstname.lastname@example.org and put Convert in the subject line.
Within a minute or two, the book is on your kindle.
University texts are now being published as eBooks. They are so expensive in paper because they have
limited runs and need frequent revisions. Instead of a briefcase bursting with heavy books, all a student needs
is a 185 grams(6.53 oz)
eReader she can slip into a pocket to contain all the text books and all the reading for all courses. An
eReader costs less than one paper text book. A university could issue eReaders to all students, licence all
texts in eBook form and add the cost to the tuition. It would save students a bundle and the texts would be
up-to-the minute. In addition, the university could distribute handouts, notes, transcriptions of lectures etc.
in eBook form too saving on printing.
The bottom line is eBooks are much cheaper to produce and distribute. They will inevitably replace paper
books. Paper books will come to be seen like art work calligraphy on sheep-skin parchment. Consider further than
eBooks are in their infancy. As they evolve they will overwhelm paper books.
Why eBooks Are So Cheap
There are a number of reasons why eBooks are so much cheaper than paper-based books:
They don’t have to be manufactured.
They don’t require paper.
They don’t require storage.
They don’t require shipping.
They don’t get shopworn or dog-eared.
You don’t have to deal with unsold copies.
They have a small carbon footprint.
The typesetting process is considerably simpler. Authors do a much larger share of the typesetting
They do not require elaborate artwork and special printing for the book covers.
Because they are cheaper, people buy more of them, which makes them still cheaper.
Even the tiniest retail outlet or website can maintain an enormous catalog.
Amazon originally set the price of eBooks at $10 or under. At this rate,
publishers still make more profit than they did with the equivalent paper book. Barnes & Noble decided
customers would tolerate prices up to $12. Then the publishers noticed that
libraries were a special case:
Libraries could lend the same eBook out to many people at once. Why would people buy a best seller when
they could get it without waiting at the library, unlike paper best sellers?
Ebooks never wear out. Libraries don’t have to rebuy popular books the way the do with paper-based
So the publishers said they wanted to charge libraries in the order of $90 for
ebooks. The libraries are screaming.
To keep things interesting, the US Department of Justice sued Apple, Hachette, HarperCollins, MacMillan,
Penguin and Simon & Schuster for price fixing eBooks.
Most of the classics of science and literature are available for free. Darwin, Plato, Tolstoy, etc. if its no
longer under copyright and if its a significant work its been put up for free by the Gutenberg project and is
available in Kindle and iBook format. One of the first things I read on the Kobo was The Prince by
Short books 5000 to 15,000 words are called singles.
Disadvantages of eBooks
The objections to eBooks are mostly emotional and nostalgic. People have an emotional attachment to paper
books, especially hard cover, leather bound ones. They like the feel and smell of them. There is certainly
place for high-quality paper books. People imagine if they use just one eBook it implies they must burn all their
treasured volumes and never gain visit a used bookstore or support the local bookshop. You have to pick one or
the other. They see using a eBook as a sort of adultery — breaking the faith of their love for paper books.
Personally, I love both, for different reasons and I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it.
If an eBook is copy protected, you cannot ever sell it. You cannot lend it out. You cannot
even give it away. You can’t buy used eBooks.
The economics of eBooks are driving brick and mortar bookstores out of business. The power is
shifting from book publishers to ill-behaved retail giant monopolies like Amazon. They use that power to get a
larger and larger share of the profits and to take more and more control away from book publishers. Publishers
are having to cut back and lay people off because of this.
Because the bar to publishing an eBook is so low, we are being inundated by a wave of low-quality books,
the publishing equivalent of spam.
The page is much smaller than a typical book page. You cannot see very much at a time and you have to flip
pages much more frequently. On the other hand, the small size of the eReader is more convenient than a book.
You can’s view large photographs, large charts or illustrations.
I tend to highlight my paperbacks and scribble in the margin. I also pepper them with coloured tape flags
to mark important sections. You can so something vaguely similar with a eBook, but it is pretty clumsy and all
your flags look identical.
I also like to quote from eBooks. I have to write the quotation down on paper then key it back into the
computer. I would like it I could highlight the quote and have the eReader send it to my computer.
There is a lot of nonsense about which models of eReader are permitted to be sold in which countries.
Some authors such as Stephen King think there is something heroic, like John Henry, in blocking eBooks. Not
only does he dislike and boycott eBooks personally, he wants to stop other people from creating and reading
It is fairly easy to misplace, lose or damage your eBook reader. It is very difficult to misplace your
entire collection of paper books.
Callers to Rex Murphy’s Cross Country Checkup on 2013-04-07
strongly expressed their preferences for traditional paper books. However, none of these people, or Rex, had
ever used an eBook or knew the first thing about them. But that did slow anyone down from pontificating all
manner of nonsense about them, e.g. that you could not read them in a leisurely way because the text scrolled
at a fixed speed like a speed reading machine, or that you can’t read them on the bus. We have a
phenomenon similar to religions, with adherents convinced the familiar religion is the best without the need to
first examine any other.
Famous Canadian Author Margaret Atwood says that longer books are harder to read as eBooks than as paper.
She does not give a reason why this would be so. She is anything but a technophobe, so I trust she learned this
from personal experience.
Apple is a major distributor of eBooks. It has a prudish policy of no nudity of any kind not even fig-leaf
nudity. They are imposing their narrow religious fundamentalist views on the entire world. With the
concentration of eBook distributors in fewer and fewer hands, there are too few people deciding what everyone
Black & White only, actually 16 shades of gray, except Fire models
Images and text only. No video, except with the Fire models.
Amazon/Kindle is coy about specs. They won’t tell you the CPU (Central Processing Unit)
they use, its speed, RAM (Random Access Memory)
capacity. There is no reason for them to be embarrassed. They use perfectly adequate hardware. If are selling
the Fire device as a game machine this is important to potential buyers.
You cannot run apps on eBooks except the Fire models You cannot use them as cell phones or cameras. They
purely for reading books.
No PayPal The biggest
eBook store in the world, Amazon insists on you paying by credit card. From a security point of view, this is
as nuts as Fedexing them bundle of pre-signed blank cheques. You cannot buy Kindle eBooks with out a credit
Time magazine subscription is text only, no photos, no graphs, to save bandwidth.
You can also download audiobooks, but not via 3G due to their large size. You must download them to a
computer over the Internet, then download them to the kindle via a USB
You can also download your own documents to it for
Except for the Fire model, it is just a book reader. It has no BlackBerry or calculator functions, or
user-written software. It has Linux and Java inside, so in theory it could play games and run small
applications, but Amazon has locked it into one function only.
The basic Kindle model is not a touch screen. I found myself constantly trying to select by touch. You use
a little knob gizmo to navigate. My own Kobo Glo works by touch gestures. It often misinterprets a simple page
flip as something more exotic.
The bottom line is, the people who object most strenuously to eBooks have never read one. They are reacting
mainly to their misconceptions and to a sense of loyalty to beloved books and beloved bookshop owners.
Major eBook Formats
If you own a Kindle, you will buy your proprietary format AZW/KF8 copy-protected eBooks from Amazon.
If you own a Kobo, you will buy your ePub eBooks from Kobo.
If you own a Nook, you will buy your ePub eBooks from Barnes &
If you own a Sony, you will buy your ePub eBooks from Barnes &
Noble or Kobo.
Formats Supported by Various Readers
Formats Supported by Various Readers
Old eBooks sold at Barnes and Noble are in pdb format. New ones are in ePub.
This is just a rough guide. Before you buy, double check the abilities of the particular model you are considering.
format has advanced compression technology that makes it very good at
handling high resolution images of scanned documents and photographs. With DjVu you
can take a 300DPI (Dots Per Inch)
high resolution scan and store it in less than 100 KB. Unfortunately, none of the eReaders currently support it.
You have to view it on a computer.
ePub is an open format. Kindle AZW (Amazon Word)
and KF8 are proprietary to Amazon. AZW
is MOBI (Mobile pocket eBook format)
plus weak copy protection. Apple eBook stores use ePub format. BlackBerry uses
format. All else being equal, open: good, proprietary: bad. The two most important
formats to create are MOBI
and ePub. Apple currently has book-reading software for its iPhones and iPads.
How to Buy a Kobo eBook
The easy way to buy a book is to plug in your Kobo and start up the desktop Kobo app. It is pretty straightforward. The only catch, is you must use
a credit card, not PayPal. The app remembers your account, password, address etc. The book appears in your library on local hard disk. From there it
automatically gets synched into the Kobo.
To buy a book from the
Kobo store, visit the site, set up an account with Password, select your book and put it in your virtual
shopping basket. Click checkout and pay by credit card or PayPal. They don’t
send you anything. They simply put the eBook in your online library. Plug in your Kobo into a USB port and start the Kobo Desktop software. If you
don’t have the software, you can download it here:
Login to Kobo and it will automatically download all your books into your Kobo including the freebies.
If you want a separate copy for your desktop,
click on the
icon in the upper
right of the Kobo bookstore, then click my library.
Your book will be there. Click:
next to your newly purchased book.
It will have a ridiculous long gibberish name. It is probably best not to disturb it. If it is DRM (Digital Restrictions/Rights Management) free, you
can read it with any sort of reader, including a software reader that runs on the
Adobe Digital Editions
Books at the Kobo bookstore are not copy protected. However, when you borrow eBooks from the library or you acquire
eBooks from other sources they may be. For that, you need Adobe Digital Editions.
For some reason, the standard Kobo software will not let you import unprotected PDF files. However, the Adobe software will do that.
You must first authorise your computer by getting Adobe to assign your eReader a serial number.
For that you need to first create an AdobeID account.
The digital Editions app then can then optionally modify documents to run only on that particular Kobo.
You drag your eBooks or PDF files onto the Adobe app (not copy/paste). It does not have an auto-sync. So you must then right click to copy
them into your Kobo. This is so Mickey Mouse. The two programs should be merged into one seamless consistent whole.
Arbitrary PDFs will not work as well as PDF eBooks. The type may be too small or the pages too wide to fit.
Borrowing a Kobo eBook from the Library
The process of borrowing an eBook from the Victoria public library has been simplified. It is still obscenely complicated.
Grandmothers can borrow paper books without trouble. This rigamarole to borrow an eBook taxes the talent of a computer
They will ask you for your PIN. They mean your password.
If your password does not work, give it your old password.
The library eBook system has four passwords, two for the library, one for Kobo and one for Adobe.
Keep in mind when you update your password, it will not update the others.
Download the file to your hard disk. It will have a *.acsm name.
Attach your Kobo to the USB port or to WiFi.
Run Adobe Digital Editions.
Drag (not copy/paste) the downloaded book onto the Adobe Digital Editions app.
You will see the book has a time limit. When that time limit is over, it will disappear like Cinderella’s coach without
any action on your part. It is specially modified to run only on your Kobo.
Select the book then right click and select copy to device to copy it into your Kobo.
When you have finished reading the book, bring up Adobe Digital Editions and right click your book and click returned borrowed item.
This process could be simplified:
There should be no need for two library passwords.
When you click borrow, the book should go directly into your Kobo.
You should be able to return a borrowed book by tapping on the Kobo. It could then notify the library via WiFi or
the next time there is a USB connection.
The Kobo and Adobe software should be merged into one application.
eBooks are a boon for libraries. They don’t wear out. They can’t get lost. Users can take them out
without visiting the library. They can be lent to more than one person at a time. Random House reacted by jacking
the prices up to $90 for an eBook to libraries. Penguin refused to sell them to
libraries. Some publishers licence the books for N borrowings. I think publishers and libraries will eventually
settle on a licensing scheme where libraries have all the world’s eBooks on tap via the Internet and pay a
small royalty each time they lend them. Instead of libraries, we may find websites that help you find something
suitable to read and takes a small cut of the royalty you pay to read it, acting like a specialised library. The
actual book might always be downloaded from the publisher or his agent. Libraries and bookstores get an affiliate
The needs of publishers include:
promotion and buzz to help sell eBooks and paper books.
compensation for lost book sales.
libraries should not interfere with book sales.
The needs of libraries include:
having every book ever written on tap.
ability to give any book to any person when they want it 24/7.
being able to predict costs
What we need are a variety of contracts for different types of books. For example, a best seller might allow
the library to lend 30 copies at a time to build buzz, but no more or it would
interfere with sales. A user might be given the option to buy a eBook instead of returning it. This would be a bonus sale for the publisher, giving him even more motive for the
library to lend his books, especially for short-term loans. A library might have a
contract allowing it to lend only 10 copies of book. A impatient user might pay a
$3 fee to read it now. This fee would go to the publisher. I think the notion of
buying individual books makes no sense. The library should sign a contract for the publisher’s entire
stable of books and have access to all of them. That would save all kinds of bureaucracy on both sides.
Libraries and publishers are still way too stuck on the paper book library metaphor. There is no reason an
eBook library need look remotely the same. The first thing that has to go is an absolute unchanging limit on how
many copies may be in circulation at a time.
Proposed Library eBook System
Here is how I think ebooks and libraries should work so nearly everybody wins.
Publishers provide their entire catalog of books in electronic form.
Libraries have every eBook ever published on tap.
Libraries no longer need buildings or real-estate, except for small specialised collections. The purpose of
a library will change from storing books to recommending books. The distinction between a bookstore and a
library and a book-recommending website like mine would blur. You would pay to borrow eBooks from a bookstore
or a website, but probably not from a library. You pay for that service with your taxes.
The library pays a fee per loan to the publisher, say $0.25. They pay nothing
to have a book on tap.
The library is not permitted to lend more than 10 copies of any one book at
If readers are eager and not prepared to wait, they can get a loan for a fee, or a purchase for a fee. In
that case the library gets a 7% commission, which just goes on the account.
The library remits one cheque a month for all rentals which gets distributed proportionately to the
This way publishers get their less popular books out and talked about. The library helps them sell books
rather than competing with them. The reader get access to vast new catalog of topical books. The library does not
have to guess and gamble how popular various books will be. The publishers make money especially from loans of
popular eBooks. Users don’t need to learn another scheme for buying books. It is just a slight wrinkle on
the way they borrow books. The people who would be most opposed would be eBook vendors like Amazon. They would
not like the publisher and libraries cutting them out.
A digital media service that allows you to borrow free movies, television shows,
educational/instructional videos, documentaries, music, and audiobooks. You borrow hoopla titles via a
browser, smartphone or tablet (iOS 6 and select Android devices).
Current issues of popular magazines: news, business, entertainment, fashion, and more…. Read instantly
on your computer, download to your tablet, or phone. Please note: When you create a zinio for libraries
account your email address, account password, library barcode and name will be stored in the US (passwords
are stored in encrypted form).
Provides access to the Emerging Local Authors eBook collection. Also includes independently published
titles from Canada and the United States, as well as historic and contemporary documents, images, and media
files from around the world.
Animated picture books, novels, and classics with sound, music and narration as well as read-along
titles for students from K-12 and ESL (English as a Second Language). Read these books online or listen as they are read aloud – not
downloadable. [Requires Flash]
Contains The Encyclopedia of British Columbia, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names, Raincoast
Chronicles 20: Lilies and Fireweed: Frontier Women of British Columbia, and Far West: The Story of British
Columbia, as well as other eBooks about British Columbia’s social, political, and natural
Audiobooks for all ages. Sign in and you can stream contemporary fiction, nonfiction and English and
American classics (with some Spanish translations). Plays, including Shakespeare are also part of the
collection. There is no software to download and the books are always available. AudioBookCloud is
configured for mobile devices. [Requires Flash]
Livres d’images animés et parlants, comprenant des albums pour enfants, des romans jeunesse et
romans classiques, des jeux et des vidéos instructifs ainsi qu’une section pour apprendre les
langues. S’addresse aux jeunes depuis la maternelle jusqu’à fin secondaire. Le texte ajustable
apparaît surligné lors de la narration. Outil parfait pour encourager la lecture et pour les
étudiants de langue seconde. [Requires Flash]
You may not be able to access some of these services directly. You may have to persuade your local library to