An e-book (also EBook, Ebook or eBook) is a digitally created book that users can read using PCs, notebooks, tablets, smartphones and, most importantly, e-book readers.
E-books are digital publications in text and images, usually distributed over the Internet and displayed through electronic devices. To view and read e-books, users usually use e-book readers, and often tablets, smartphones, notebooks, or PCs. Since these devices are distributed by many different vendors, various e-book formats have become established over time. The most important of these include EPUB, AZW, KF8, LIT, and PDF.
In terms of content, e-books are written on fictional as well as non-fictional topics of all kinds and are distributed commercially as well as non-commercially through various platforms. They are used for entertainment, information, as well as advertising for the author or his products.
Advantages over printed books
Electronic books have brought many changes to the book market and the consumption of books. In some respects, e-books are superior to their print predecessors. Particular advantages include:
- Space savings and availability of many books at once
- Arbitrary, inexpensive reproduction of a book
- Easy distribution and purchasing possible
- Low production costs and thus opening of the author market
- Adaptation of books to one’s own viewing/reading habits (adjustment of font size/font, light, hyperlinks, search function)
- Extended functionality (audio, video, photo, read-aloud function, bookmarks, notes, etc.), also through online connection (online encyclopedias) or additional software (dictionary)
Distribution and publication of e-books
E-books are currently a growth market. Accordingly, many large and small platforms have developed in recent years to distribute e-books commercially. In addition to Internet companies such as Amazon, Apple and Google, traditional print publishers and bookstore chains, such as Thalia or Hugendubel, are now increasingly fighting for sales in the market for digital books. The companies often offer the e-books in their own “app stores,” but readers can also obtain the writings via online stores and other websites.
As an alternative to the large companies that distribute e-books commercially, other sources of supply have become established. The advantages that e-books bring – inexpensive reproduction, space-saving storage, easy distribution, etc. – also enable simple and efficient non-commercial distribution of the texts. For example, almost every public library now also lends e-books free of charge. Books, mostly classics, are also freely available in digital form on websites such as “Project Gutenberg” and in app stores.
Authors now have an easier time publishing their works because of the advantages that an e-book offers. Neither do they necessarily have to find a publisher to publish a book, nor do they have to accept high printing costs. And even the marketing can be done by the author himself via the Internet – via Facebook, Twitter and his own website. Authors can publish their books on their own websites, in app stores, or through companies like Amazon.
E-books in corporate communications
For companies, digital books are a proven way to drive advertising and demonstrate expertise. Just like whitepapers, e-books lend themselves as guides or informational reading that can be used to illustrate processes, developments or products and explain them in detail. In this way, companies can not only position themselves as experts, but also obtain data and information from potential customers along the way.
The language, content and form of e-books in advertising and corporate communications are always dependent on the target group, author and purpose.
The e-book market is currently growing strongly, and the technology of digital books offers many advantages over traditional print products. Along with the development of e-books and the e-book reader, the market for distribution and publishing has also changed. For both publishers and authors – but especially for Internet giants such as Amazon, Apple or Google – the e-book offers new opportunities. In addition, electronic books are also being used increasingly successfully for advertising and corporate communications.
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