E-books have been around for quite a while, but they are still mysterious to some. I want to help you break through the mist to understand and embrace e-books. I don't think e-books will ever completely replace printed books (you can duplicate the words after all, but not the smell or the feel) but still, they are gaining popularity and there are benefits to using them. So, here we go!
Q: What is an e-book?
A: An e-book is essentially a digital or electronic book. It's the same content, by the same author, and takes the same amount of effort and time to write and edit as a physical in-your-hand book.
Q: Why do e-books cost less than physical books?
A: Because it is in digital format (an electronic file) the price can be reduced because there are not paper, printing or shipping costs. This does not mean the content is any less valuable, just that it costs less to produce an e-book than a physical book.
Q: Why are some e-books offered as PDFs?
A: A PDF (portable document file) is generally a file that can be opened on any computer, and is printable. Whereas you need an application or an e-reader device to read an e-book file, and e-books generally cannot be printed. So, for a planner, homeschool printables or coloring/worksheets, a PDF would be best; but for a book, either format would work.
Q: Which format is the best choice when I want to buy an e-book?
A: That depends on what you want to do with it. If you just want to read it, choose the e-book/kindle format. If you want to print it, choose the PDF format.
Q: What are the most common e-reader devices?
Q: I don't have an e-reader. Can I still buy and read e-books?
A: Yes! You can purchase many of them as PDF files which are readable like a document on your computer, OR you can download this FREE Kindle App from Amazon to read e-books on your desktop computer. If you have an iPad, here is a list of free e-reader apps for the iPad.
Q: Can I read PDFs on a Kindle? What about e-books or PDFs I've already downloaded to my desktop computer?
A: Yes! You can read PDFs on your e-reader. Here are some helps for sending documents and web pages to your Kindle.
Q: How can I organize my e-book library?
A: It is perhaps easier than organizing a physical library! I organize mine by topic in files on my hard drive. You can also store them on a “cloud drive”. If you (like me) need pictures and further instruction on doing this, Virginia George has a great article on how to organize your e-book library. I found it very helpful.
Q: Can I give e-readers and e-books as gifts?
A: Yes! You can deliver PDF e-books via email. OR read this for information on gifting Kindles and Kindle content. However, (and this is important!) you must abide by copyright law. If you purchase an e-book, you cannot e-mail a copy to a friend and keep a copy. Once it is on their computer, you must delete your copy. Only one copy may exist for each purchase. The same applies to any digital e-book or download, free or paid. If it's free and you want to share it, the best thing to do is to send your friend the link to the website, so they can download their copy straight from the original source.
Q: Where can I get e-books?
A: Amazon is one of the largest publishers of e-books on the market. As well as other bookstores that have websites, Christian Book Distributor, or Barnes & Noble, for instance. It is also much more acceptable and possible to self-publish your works these day, and many authors sell their e-books on their own websites (see my e-books here).
- Homemaker's Library a list of more than 80 e-books
- Book lists by topic (many of them also available as e-books)
Other useful articles about e-books
- The Benefits of buidling your e-book library
- 10 Reasons why e-books are awesome for moms
- 5 Reasons to use a kindle in your homeschool
Have I demystified ebooks for you? If you have a question I did not answer, please comment below. E-books are a great resource and I'd love to know this article has helped you begin to build your library!