Electronic Books, Magazines and Newspapers

Over the years books, newspapers and magazines were only available in a tangible paper format, today, new technology has brought us the evolution of receiving these in a digital form. “People want to read wherever and however it is most convenient, and they’ll be quite happy to do it electronically” says James Bridle.[1]

iPhone_newspaper.jpgipad_magazine.jpgkindle_book.jpgAn electronic book (also e-book, ebook, electronic book, 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.[2] Electronic books are read on e-readers (such as Amazon Kindle), e-book devices, personal computers and some cell phones. Along with books, these devices are considered the future for reading magazines and newspapers.
Online magazines that are part of the World Wide Web, that is, all or part of a website, are sometimes called webzines. An ezine (also spelled e-zine) is a more specialized term appropriately applied to small magazines and newsletters distributed by any electronic method, for example, by electronic mail (e-mail/email). Some social groups may use the terms cyberzine and hyperzine when referring to electronically distributed resources.[3]
An online newspaper, also known as a web newspaper, is a that exists on the World Wide Web or Internet, either separately or as an online version of a printed periodical.[4]

Types of E-books

There are many formats available for e-books, including:
While e-books on CD-ROM and via the Internet are still available, it is becoming increasingly more popular to read them on hardware devices such as digital readers, tablets and smartphones. E-book reader (e-book) device, is a portable electronic device that is designed primarily for the purpose of reading digital books or periodicals. The e-book reader market is becoming increasingly more competitive (See comparison of digital readers)[6] but the most popular e-book reader is the Amazon Kindle who in 2010 reported that its e-book sales outnumbered sales of hardcover books for the first time during the second quarter.[7]
Amazon Kindle highlights:
  • Holds 1,400 books on device
  • Most advanced e-Ink display - delivering clear, crisp text and images
  • Read in Bright Sunlight
  • One-month battery life
  • Download books in 60 seconds
  • Built in Wifi and 3G available with Whispernet giving download availability in 0ver 100 countries
  • Adjustable text sizes
  • PDFs and personal documents can be emailed directly to device
  • Borrow from your public library
  • Free, Out-of-Copyright Books
  • Massive selection - over 1 million books, newspapers and magazines available

Amazon, along with other popular e-reader companies such as Barnes and Noble, have aps available for computers and smartphones so consumers are able to download their books and sync to all devices. Readers have the ability to start reading their book on their e-reader device and switch to their tablet and be at the same page.ibook_new.jpgnook_new.jpgkobo_new.jpgkindle_new.jpg

Tablet computer is similar in form to an e-book reader but typically has a faster screen capable of higher refresh rates making them more suitable for interaction.[8] . The iPad is a tablet that was release with an e-book app called iBooks and between April to October 2010 Apple had sold 7 million iPads. Ipad is perfectly adequate for 80% or more of what consumers want to do on a computer, and it excels at multimedia applications, including e-book, e-magazine and e-newspaper display. (See comparison of tablets)
A smartphones is a high-end mobile phone that combines the functions of a personal digital assistant (PDA) and a mobile phone. See comparison of smartphones.

Comparison of E-books and traditional books


Reading anywhere, anytime

E-book can be delivered and read immediately, no need to travel to a brick and mortar store or library to get the actual book. For example, with the Amazon Kindle 3G with access to Whispernet, you can download internationally in 100 countries (Amazon.com). Devices can also be read in low-light or darkness, as with the use of the iPad tablet with its backlit screen.
ebooks_downloadable.jpgLarge number of downloadable books at low cost
Over 2 million free e-books are available for download as of August 2009 including all fiction from before the year 1900 .[9] In 2003, libraries began offering free downloadable popular fiction and non-fiction e-books to the public, launching an e-book lending model that worked much more successfully for public libraries. In 2010, a Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study found that 66% of public libraries in the U.S. were offering e-books.[10]

E-books are offered indefinitely

E-books do not go out of print and will be available forever on the online community.

Opportunities for independent writers

For books, newspapers and magazines, independent publishers are able to offer their work without the large costs of traditional publishing. For example, more opportunities are available to independent magazines that were unable to afford the cost of publishing and printing, but can get their messages or blogs out online e-magazines.

Virtually no tangible space

E-readers or other hardware devices can have thousands of books on the device limited only by memory capacity. For example when travelling on vacation, consumers would not have to carry multiple paperback books and could have them all on their reading device.

Books become worldwide

E-book websites allow books to be translated into multiple languages making books available to those who otherwords wouldn’t have the printed translations.


Some readers display motion, enlarge or change font, use text-to-speech software to read the text aloud for visually impaired, partially sighted, elderly or dyslexic people, search for key terms, find definitions, or allow highlighting bookmarking and annotation. This allows books to be available to a widespread of people.[11]


E-books do not consume paper or ink and the computer or e-reader uses less materials. Printed books use 3 times more raw materials and 78 times more water to produce. [12] As consumers are becoming more aware of environmental concerns, this may become a larger reason the switch from traditional books to e-books will occur.

Backed Up in case of loss or damage

Depending on digital rights management, its possible to recover a new copy without cost from the distributor.


No universal e-book format

E-book format and file types continue to develop and change through advancements in the technology. E-books may need to be copied or converted to a new carrier or file type over time and become unusable on certain readers.There are four main ebook formats at present, Mobipocket, Topaz, ePub and PDF. Amazon Kindle uses Mobipocket and Topaz and it also supports native PDF format ebooks and native PDF files. Other ebook readers mostly use ePub format ebooks, but with differing DRM schemes. PDF and epub are growing standards but are not universal.

Book Availability

Not all books are available as e-books. For example, Harry Potter’s are not available in e-book format and some authors may decide they don’t want there work available in electronic format.

Doesn’t feel like the real thing

The digital nature of e-books does not allow for the feel of the cover, paper of the original binder work.

Sustainability of electronic formats

There is no gurantee that electronic copies will last. Bits become degraded over time and may get lost in cyperspace

Damage to e-book readers/tablet

Due to faults in hardware or software, e-book readers may malfunction and data loss can occur. Print books are not as susceptible to damage from being dropped, power surges or extreme temperatures

Initial high cost hardware

High cost for e-book readers or tablets makes e-books cost prohibitive to much of the worlds population. Consumers are also unable to recoup costs as they would be able to from printed books

Digital rights management (DRM)

Customers typically cannot resell or loan their e-books to other readers (32). However, some companies such as Barnes and Noble are lendable for a couple weeks. In one instance of DRM that caused a rift with consumers, Amazon.com remotely deleted purchased copies of George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm from customers' Kindles after providing them a refund for the purchased products. After an apology from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the Free Software Foundation has written that this is just now more example of the excessive power Amazon has to remotely censor what people read through its software.[13] Companies DemiseWhen the company that provides the service goes out of business or decides to stop providing the service, the purchaser will no longer be able to access the e-book Display resolutionsReading devices are currently lower than those of printed materials and may cause discomfort due to glare on the screen or difficulty holding the device.

What does the future hold?

The future holds the possbilility of newer hardware devices and business models to create a stronger market for electronic works. Electronic paper is a new way to make electronic work still feel closer to the “real thing”. With the use of Flexible Active Matrix Ink Display ( ), you can bend the paper as you would a newspaper whicle still reading in electronic format.[14] The newspaper will downloadas a subscription would directly to the electronic paper. Traditional book stores are learning that they must change their current business model to add digital readers and e-books to maintain success in the industry. The industry is adapting to the new demands of the customer, and technological advancements available to the market. Now it is the customers turn to adapt to the new age of "e-books" and get past the mindset of holding a book, newspaper and magazine in their hands and move forward with the convenience of digital readers and tablets. The success has begun as seen with Amazon and their growing sales in e-books relative to traditional books, but the industry has a ways to go before it becomes a standard for reading.

See Also

  1. ^
    Losowsky, A. (2011). THE FUTURE OF INDEPENDENT MAGAZINES. Print, 65(2), 68-71. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
  2. ^ Gardiner, Eileen and Ronald G. Musto. “The Electronic Book.” In Suarez, Michael Felix, and H. R. Woudhuysen. //The Oxford Companion to the Book.// Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010, p. 164.
  3. ^ Wikipedia: Online magazine, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_magazine
  4. ^ Wikipedia - Online newspaper http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_newspaper
  5. ^ Clyde, L.A. (2005). electronic books. Teacher Librarian, 32(5), 45-47. Retrieved from EBSCOhost
  6. ^ Top Ten Reviews, http://ebook-reader-review.toptenreviews.com/
  7. ^ http://ezproxy.mohawkcollege.ca:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=fth&AN=57430824&site=ehost-live&scope=site
  8. ^ Wikipedia: e-book readers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_e-book_readers
  9. ^ http://www.law.stanford.edu/library/blog/?tag=2-million-free-ebook.
  10. ^ Wikipedia: e-books, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-book
  11. ^ Wikipedia: e-book readers advantages, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-book#Advantages
  12. ^ ^How Green Is My iPad - The New York Times
  13. ^ Wikipedia: Digital Rights Management, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_rights_management#E-books
  14. ^ Chen, Y. M. (2003). Electronic paper: Flexible active-matrix electronic ink display. Nature, 423(6936), 136. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.