|R.I.P: My Kindle |
February 2011 - February 2011
As more authors pursue self-publication and the stigma of not-being-traditionally-
published is replaced with who-cares-its-being-bought- and-read, we must become friends with ebook technology, ebooks formats, and ebook readers. Not causal acquaintances who vaguely remember each others' names and hum anxiously to themselves while hoping their meeting passes quickly… we must embrace the ebook. Give it a little peck on the screen...
An ebook reader or ereader is essentially a device that allows you to view and read an ebook publication. Basically anything that has a screen and supports the necessary software can be considered an ereader, but we tend to identify the tablet computer as the standard form.
Kindle- Ah, yes, the kindle. Available from Amazon.com, the Kindle may be the most recognisable handheld ebook reader. I purchased the wifi version in February and enjoyed an excellent Agatha Christie novel for about a week before a customs agent at an international airport smashed the screen by carelessly tossing my backpack. Grrrr...
Nook- Available from Barnes and Noble, the nook and the nookcolor with apps is everything an ebook reader should be. Both have wifi and they look nice enough, but I still miss my Kindle.
Ipad- The Ipad is one tablet computer that has stimulated much debate. The first question I asked myself was, "Yes, it's small shiny, has games, and makes noise, but do I need it?" It's more than a simple ereader and while I eventually told myself, "No…" it fits other (better) people's lifestyles well.
Your Computer- I'm currently reading Sides by Denis Vaughan on my laptop (rather than my Kindle). Ebooks can be read on your computer in many of the available formats like PDFs. One of the misconceptions writers commonly hold is that only people who own Ipads and Kindles read ebooks. Not so!
Smart phones- A number of phones, including the iphone and the blackberry can be used to read ebooks.
Additional Reading: Here's a rather anti-Apple biased article about screen types if you've ever wondered why the screens that you see on the Kindle, for example, mimic the colour and lighting intensity of your average paperback.
A format is a type of file. Not all ebook readers support all formats. Most writers who publish online make their work available in a variety of formats to accommodate as many devices as possible.
Mobipocket/Kindle- Including file extensions .mobi, .prc, and .acz. These ebooks are created for use with the Kindle.
ePub- The file extension .epub was intended as an industry wide standard and can be used on all of the devices mentioned above.
PDF- The .pdf file extension is incredibly common. It's likely the first file most people encountered that looked like a word file, but the words couldn't be edited. Its greatest advantage as an ebook format is that anyone can "print" a word document as a .pdf to be made available online. However, a disadvantage is that the text may not be visible when viewed on the smaller screens of some ereader devices. In fact, users may zoom in on the text, but then have to scroll back and forth to read it.
Additional Reading: eBook Architects gives a more in depth explanation of the formats.
EBOOK CONVERTERS AND EDITORS
Smashwords- Writers love this site. You upload your book file and it immediately makes it available in every other format ebook users could want.
Calibre- A free software that allows users to organise their ebooks. It's available for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. With Calibre, ebooks can be synced across a variety of formats and viewed or read on the computer. Ebooks are cataloged by the user for sorting and retrieval. It's the best software to help any ebook reader keep track of their collection and can even convert the RSS feed from websites into an ebook.
Sigili- Also available for Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows, Sigil is free software that allows users to edit .epub files. It's particularly useful for writers who wish to convert their word and pdf files into pub files and then edit them before uploading to Lulu.com or Amazon.com for sale.
USEFUL EBOOK TERMS TO KNOW