An ebook is in effect a digital book. It can take on various forms from a straightforward digital copy of a printed book to a very sophisticated interactive multimedia presentation. Ebooks can be read or downloaded from the web but are also often distributed via CD or DVD especially with large file sizes. Many ebooks are read on mobile phones such as the Apple iPhone and dedicated eBook readers. The ebook doesn't necessarily have to be a book as such, it can simulate a website or act as a company brochure, instructional manual or learning aid, a portfolio or company presentation.
The first significant ebook was Stephen King's 'Riding the Bullet' which was launched on the internet in 2001 selling at $2.50 per copy. This was a resounding success and led to the boom in this form of media.
Simpler, mainly text-based content benefit from other ebook formats including the ePub and Kindle format. Perfect for novels or simple layouts. These formats support 'reflow'. The reader has the ability to adjust text size, margins and spacing depending on the viewing device. Of course this format has its downside, no page number references can be used, tables, pictures and graphics have to flow with the content and font choice is restricted. There is also great differences between what is actually seen by the viewer over different devices.
A word of caution then if you format your own book, just because it looks good on one device doesn't mean it will on another. Remember that all the manufacturers are in competition. Amazon seems to be the market leader at the moment. I work on the assumption that the lowest common denominator will work on everything.
Free ebook readers are available for PCs and smart phones and prices for dedicated ebook reading devices are dropping. The latest Kindle Fire supports a much wider range of styles now although bear in mind backward compatibility. The earlier Kindles and Kindle Paperwhite are still in black and white. Also several devices don't link to the internet.
My name is John Amy, I am a professional graphic designer based in the UK with over 25 years experience, and design Print books as well as Ebooks. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org with an outline of your requirements for a no-obligation quote or call me on 020 8462 0969 or 07773 218 349. If you have any questions or problems about design and branding or how to go about getting a professional-looking ebook, please get in touch. If you are outside the UK, don't worry. My clients span the globe. The beauty of the digital world is that it has a global reach. My graphic design website: www.promo-design.co.uk.