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An electronic book (also called an e-book, ebook or digital book) is a book in digital form. E-books can be read on computers or other electronic devices such as e-book readers. E-book readers, such as the Amazon Kindle, are devices which are dedicated to showing e-books.
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The first e-book might have been the Index Thonisticus, prepared by Roberto Busa in the late 1940s. However, this is sometimes omitted, perhaps because the digitized text was (at least at first) a means to developing an index and concordance, rather than as a published edition in its own rights.
Despite the extensive earlier history, it is commonly reported that the inventor of the e-book is Michael S. Hart. In 1971, Hart was given extensive computer time by the operators of the Xerox Sigma V mainframe at the University of Illinois. Seeking a worthy use of this resource, he created his first electronic document by typing the United States Declaration of Independence into a computer.
One early e-book 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.
In 1992, Sony launched the Data Discman, an electronic book reader that could read e-books that were stored on CDs. One of the electronic publications that could be played on the Data Discman was called The Library of the Future.
Early e-books were generally written for specialty areas and a limited audience, meant to be read only by small and devoted interest groups. The scope of the subject matter of these e-books included technical manuals for hardware, manufacturing techniques and other subjects. In the 1990s, the general availability of the Internet made transferring electronic files much easier, including e-books.
- E-books are searchable. You can easily search for any information in an e-book, instead of turning page after page.
- When you need certain information, you can get it immediately, by downloading an e-book.
- No trees are required to manufacture paper for the pages of ebooks.
- E-books can show links, for easy access to more information and related websites.
- E-books take up less space. You don't need any space to store them. You don't need a library or a room for them. You can store hundreds and thousands of e-books in your computer.
- No prime cost of paper and transportation.
- Functional and convenient: it combines with many other software, make itself more functional and convenient.
- Easy for authors or publishers to revise or update the books.
- Individualization：different backgrounds, front covers, back covers etc., according to people's needs.
- Personal publish: every person can write books and let people read them through Internet without publishing to a paper book.
- eBooks aren’t good for your eyes and you will feel tired after you look at the screen for a long time.
- eBooks require power. E-Book readers are special devices or programs on a computer that allow the user to access the book electronically. There is absolutely no paper involved. If there is a power outage and the batteries die, the user will not be able to access the book.
- e-readers have plastics and heavy metals, this isn’t good for the environment and is worse than paper.
- People can't get the special feeling that they can feel when they read a paper book.
- "Inside eBook readers", How it Works Book of Amazing Technology (Imagine Publishing): p. 150, ISBN 978-1-908222-0-84