Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What Are E-Books? E-Pamphlets?



I love to read and have loved visiting the public libraries since I was a child. I just loved roaming through the stacks of books or sitting and reading for hours on end and always wanted to have a study or library of my own.

I tend to prefer hardcover books versus pocketbooks as I always had a hard time reading the little print and nowadays always buy hardcover. I also tend to prefer books with lots of illustrations, pictures, and step by step instructions. Truth be told I also love romance novels, but we won't get into that.

So when e-books came into being I was intrigued. E-Books? What exactly were they and how would that work? For sure they weren't going to be hardcover books that you could hold and feel. I wasn't sure I was going to like them or that they would ever replace books as we know them to be

So, what exactly are they?

Well, an e-book is basically the electronic version of a print book. It can contain all the traditional sections of a regular print book and be quite lengthy or be a short pamphlet (like a how-to craft project book) - in which case I call it an e-pamphlet.

So, it's basically a book that can be transmitted digitally in .PDF format and either downloaded onto a computer, read via a computer, or nowadays transmitted into a reading device that could house multiple numbers of e-books. It was definitely intriguing thinking about being able to have a device that could contain LOTS of books in digital form.

E-Books have become a wonderful e-product for artists and crafters to either sell or give away for free. Most of the e-books that are sold by the artists and crafters are in .PDF format that can be downloaded similar to e-patterns once they are paid for and then saved to your hard drive and read by Adobe Acrobat. Like e-patterns they can be either e-mailed as attachments to an email or instantly downloaded once they have been paid for.

If you order an emailed E-Book then an Email with a .PDF (Portable Document Format) attachment is sent to you which you then need to download to your computer, save, and then open in Adobe Acrobat or download to a hand held reader device like Amazon's Kindle.

If you "instantly download" a single e-book then generally the .PDF file is instantly transmitted to you after payment has been made. You can then download, save the .PDF file to your computer, and then open it in Adobe Acrobat. Or, you can download it to a hand held reading device like Amazon's Kindle.

Or, if you "instantly download" several e-books via a website that uses a shopping cart (like mine) then a confirmation email with multiple download links is emailed to you once payment has been made. You can then download each of the .PDF files, save them to your computer, and then open them in Adobe Acrobat, or download them to a hand held reading device like Amazon's Kindle.

For some of the free e-books you can obtain them the same way or click on a link in a website and/or blog and it either opens up a new window containing the .PDF file or it opens the .PDF file directly and it becomes visible on your computer. Some free e-book designers utilize free downloading websites where you click on the download link to download the .PDF file to your computer.

If you'd like to see an example of one of my free e-books (or e-pamphlet) just click on the e-book image at the top of this post. It's a FREE e-book from Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns. The link will take you to the page that "How To Host A Folksy Family and Friends Bridal Shower" e-book is on in my instant e-patterns website which utilizes a shopping cart. From there you just add it to your shopping cart and then follow the prompts to check-out. Once you finish the check-out process you'll be sent an email containing the download link for the free e-book. Then, just copy/paste the link to your browsers window, download the .PDF file, save it to your computer and then open it in Adobe Acrobat.

Previous to the creation of hand held book reader's, like Amazon's Kindle, all the e-books were created in .PDF format and downloaded as described above. Then came the hand held reading devices and a new definition of e-book.

According to Wikipedia.com; An e-book (short for electronic book, also written eBook or ebook) is an e-text that forms the digital media equivalent of a conventional printed book, often protected with a digital rights management system. E-books are usually read on personal computers or smart phones, or on dedicated hardware devices known as e-book readers or e-book devices. Many mobile phones can also be used to read e-books.

About a year ago I read a Newsweek article about Jeff Bezo's new Amazon Kindle device and I was intrigued. I wondered exactly what this was and wondered how this would work for e-books and craft books?

So, last year I thought I'd see how many craft related e-books there were for Kindle. Unfortunately, at that time they didn't have a lot of "arts & crafts" e-books as of yet, but I was hoping that would change. Well, change it did. In fact, the popularity of Kindle has just about EXPLODED.

As mentioned above I tend to prefer hardcover books with large print so, I was thrilled to read that one of the nice features about Kindle was that you could change the font size no matter what the book. Now - that's a TERRIFIC feature.

Plus, another nice feature is that when you buy a Kindle book your Kindle reader downloads the book and stores it in your Kindle library. Another TERRIFIC feature. Not only do I get large print, but I get my library - albeit a digital library, but a library non the less. And, the Kindle will actually read the book to you in some of the supported formats. Now, that's a nice feature, too.

I read recently that Amazon was going to allow Kindle Products to be read by other readers. That's a smart business move. You know that a product is doing well when a major competitor decides to enter the field and Google has announced that they are going to enter the e-book business.

If you'd like to know more about what Kindle is Wikipedia.com has a wonderful page on it HERE.

Kindle does support .PDF format and many other formats and has an email service ( for a small fee) so you can email .PDF e-patterns to your Kindle. For sure, you'd have to print the e-patterns pieces out from the e-pattern you bought and then email the e-pattern to your Kindle. I don't know if I can see myself setting the Kindle down next to my sewing machine and reading the e-pattern as I go along. Hmm.... Well, maybe the 9.7" version would work. Hmm....

I do not have a Kindle reader as of yet, but it's definitely on my wish list. I do want to find out how it handles arts & crafts books and when I finally buy one and download some of the arts & crafts books I like that are available I'll let you know what I think. I'll even try emailing some of my e-patterns to my Kindle and see how they look. If you have a Kindle reader and have downloaded some arts & crafts related books I'd love to know what you think.

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