All about ebooks


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Slides used to explain the ebook marketplace, with a focus on ereaders and file formats.

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  • Omitted slides here are images of the Worldreader trial in Ghana. More details:
  • One of the places where I look for ebooks is Manybooks. Manybooks makes finding free ebooks (public domain, or released as promotional material) easier, since it adds layer of metadata to existing digitized books (e.g. from Project Gutenberg). I’ll download a MOBI version, but should I have an EPUB reader (e.g. Nook, Kobo, iPad, or most other single-purposes eReaders or media tablets), I’ll go for that format. PDF remains popular, but isn’t easily reflowable (see notes on reflowability of media).
  • I then just save this file to my eReader’s content directory. Notice how my computer already recognizes that this is a Kindle document because I’ve associated my Kindle for PC with that format.
  • Notice that, when I attach my eReader to my PC via a USB cable, it acts like a flash disk. I still have 2.3 gigabytes of storage (enough for potentially 600 more books).
  • Kindle reads MOBI, but notice how some eBooks in this folder are in the AZW format. This is a format that is protected, or DRMed. These are the books that I purchased from Amazon; I can’t just transfer them to someone else’s device (though I –can- lend some books out, under certain circumstances).
  • I can 1) browse the Kindle store (where I can also subscribe to newspapers, magazines or blogs for regular delivery) or 2) browse web sites such as or (for free books). The Kindle’s web browser is rather clunky, but that’s because the devices wasn’t designed to be a media tablet.
  • eReaders (as well as media tablet and smart phones) can connect to the Internet via 3G or Wi-Fi.
  • My publishing students have to hand craft EPUB books; here’s me browsing the books through Kindle for PC.
  • How one could produce color e-ink. Without a back light, however, colour e-ink would be faded out.
  • Zoomed in example of e-ink. There’s also a very informative video that also demonstrates colour e-ink here:
  • iPad (1)
  • Samsung Galaxy
  • Blackberry Playbook
  • Kobo also releases apps for various platforms. Shown here is Kobo for Desktop, but Kobo for Android / iPhone / Blackerry as well as Kobo for certain tablets (of course, if your tablet runs Android, it SHOULD run Kobo for Android, for instance).
  • Android is managed by Google. It was meant as a mobile operating system from the onset, is based on Linux, and features on many devices. Symbian is Nokia’s operating system. It’s being phased out by Nokia since it’s just not suited for the current mobile device market. The share of Apple’s iOS in the mobile device market shows how popular Apple devices are. RIM is Blackberry’s operating system.
  • All about ebooks

    1. 1. Making sense of ebooks<br />KosieEloff<br />Department of Information Science<br />University of Pretoria<br />kosieeloff - tweet any questions here<br />
    2. 2.<br />
    3. 3. What is an ebook?<br />Any electronic document containing text?<br />An electronic document that is book-like?<br />
    4. 4. Public domain books (<br />Manybooks isn't necessarily an eBook vendor, but a distributor of public domain titles.<br />
    5. 5.
    6. 6. Attaching eReader via USB cable<br />
    7. 7. Directory with the eReader’s books<br />
    8. 8. But what about getting books wirelessly?<br /><br />
    9. 9.<br />Standard for connecting electronic devices wirelessly<br />Local area network.<br />Very fast!<br />Coverage limited (need Wi-Fi hot spots)<br />Need to connect manually<br />Wi-Fi doesn’t guarantee internet access <br />3G (i.e. mobile broadband)<br />Cellular network.<br />Can be very slow!<br />Wide coverage (e.g. at the beach, or on the train)<br />Connected automatically<br />3G often guarantees internet access<br />
    10. 10. Selecting a Wi-Fi network<br />
    11. 11. Managing already purchased books (via your browser)<br />
    12. 12. Kindle for PC<br />
    13. 13. Kindle for PC opens your browser for purchases / browsing<br />
    14. 14. Select device (up to six / account) to which book is sent & registered<br />
    15. 15. Select device (up to six / account) to which book is sent & registered<br />
    16. 16. Kindle platforms<br />
    17. 17. 1. eReaders<br />
    18. 18. E-ink<br />CRT – flickering display, strain on eyes<br />But crisp image<br />LCD – backlight, viewing angle<br />This is being addressed<br />“a sheet of paper that can be electronically reconfigured instantaneously to display any page from any book, article or document”<br />
    19. 19. Electrophoretic display: rearranging charged pigment particles.<br />
    20. 20.
    21. 21.
    22. 22. Popular ereaders<br />Though there are dozens of devices, these are the ones that feature the most in literature. <br />The Kindle and Sony Reader are probably the best bets for South Africans (though if you see an iRiver HD in your electronics store, check it out too!)<br />
    23. 23. Sony Reader range<br />
    24. 24. Kobo Reader (Wi-Fi)<br />
    25. 25. Kobo Touch (Wi-Fi)<br />~R1100, excl.<br />
    26. 26. Original nook (Wi-Fi only $120, Wi-Fi & 3G $170)<br />
    27. 27. Nook color ($249)<br />
    28. 28. Nook Simple Touch ($139)<br />
    29. 29. Kindle 1 (left), Kindle 2 (right)<br />
    30. 30. $189 Wi-Fi & 3G Kindle<br />$139 Wi-Fi Kindle without ads<br />
    31. 31. Kindle DX Graphite (24 cm display, ~R2 600)<br />
    32. 32. $114 Wi-Fi Kindle with ads (not available in SA yet)<br />
    33. 33. $114 Wi-Fi Kindle with ads (not available in SA yet)<br />
    34. 34. Mobileread Reader Matrix<br /><br />
    35. 35. E-Reader Info, another useful source of information<br /><br />
    36. 36. 2. Tablets<br />
    37. 37.
    38. 38.
    39. 39. Accessing the Kobo eBook store via the Readers Hub application on the Galaxy Tab.<br />
    40. 40.
    41. 41. Tablet or ereader?<br />Choice often depends on operating system (software)<br />
    42. 42. Barnes & Noble also caters for various platforms<br />
    43. 43. Read while sitting...<br />
    44. 44. 3. Smartphones<br />
    45. 45. 4. PC/laptop/netbook<br />
    46. 46. Operating systems<br />A device’s operating system has a significant effect on the user experience.<br />
    47. 47. What influences purchase decisions?<br />
    48. 48.<br />
    49. 49. Which device should I choose?<br />eReaders<br />Long battery life<br />Low cost<br />(R800-R2,000 excl. S&I)<br />E-ink display (typically)<br />Low functionality<br />Media tablets<br />Limited battery life<br />Expensive <br />(R2,000-R10,000 excl. S&I)<br />LCD display (typically)<br />High functionality<br />One can include smartphones in this comparison; however, lower the price range and display size (significantly).<br />
    50. 50. File formats<br />PDF<br />Still used a lot. <br />Great for print preparation and exact layout (e.g. brochures)<br />EPUB<br />Becoming the standard for ebooks<br />Great for reflowable content and whatever else HTML offers<br />MOBI<br />Basically HTML; becoming a dated format. <br />Only really applicable to Kindle users<br />
    51. 51. Some reading communities<br /><br /><br /> public domain titles)<br />
    52. 52. Some places to self-publish<br /><br />(In March 2011, Smashwords published its 40,000th ebook)<br /><br /><br /><br />(More of a doc-sharing web site, but tremendously popular)<br />
    53. 53. Some useful resources<br />Mobile read - a large community of people interested in electronic reading<br /><br />Ebook search engines:<br /><br /><br />
    54. 54. Other places to get ebooks<br />From a list of 100+ possibilities (<br /> (SF & Fantasy)<br /><br /> (Audio books)<br /> (Popular, many formats)<br /> (Oxford text archives)<br /> (Includes comic books)<br />
    55. 55. Thank you! <br /><br />kosieeloff<br />