eBook publishing, often called electronic publishing, refers to the distribution of digital books. Usually, eBooks are generated and read via the Internet. Historically, though, electronic publishing refers to the issuing of reading materials in any electronic form — over a network connection or otherwise. eBook publishers can be either individual authors or companies that specialize in eBook distribution, and can focus on either a specific genre or carry a wide-range of subjects.
An eBook is a book without tangible pages that is comprised completely of electronic text. In addition to entire books, many eBook publishers sell e-chapters, which are single eBook chapters, for a fraction of the price. Such digital media may be read online on a laptop or desktop, or by using a portable hand-held device called an e-Reader or an eBook device. While not as popular, eBooks may also be published and read on discs or DVDs via a computer.
There are many avenues one can take when considering eBook publishing. An electronic author may publish his eBook on his own Website, or by using eBook publishing software. The author may also choose to place his eBook on an eBook dealer’s Website. Such third-party publishers generally collect royalties from the sales of a writer's eBook. An eBook publisher typically makes money from both writers and consumers.
eBook publishers distribute all types of books, but most are primarily fiction. Some publishers are small and independent, catering to people interested in a certain niche, such as erotica or science fiction. There are also some eBook publishers that have print book chains that have crossed over into the eBook business, as well.
The use of eBook publishers began skyrocketing in 2007 with the advent of the Amazon Kindle®, which touts itself as the original and most popular e-reader. As of Spring 2010, various e-readers can run up to a few hundred US Dollars and hold roughly 1,500 books. eBooks come in many file formats, including Portable Document Format (PDF) files.
eBook publishers can hold some advantages over regular publishers. A reader's desired book won't be out-of-stock on a Website, as it could be in a physical store. In addition, eBook publishers may make debut novels available at midnight, so die-hard fans don't have to wait for the neighborhood store to open in the morning. Books are also often cheaper on an eBook reader, as users need not pay for the aesthetics and production of hard- and soft-cover books. Some books are offered strictly as eBooks, while some authors refuse to let their work be published in e-form.
Readers may visit an electronic publisher's Website to find a specific book or peruse a certain genre. A disadvantage of buying books from eBook publishers is the necessity of technology know-how. Readers must be able to download books and navigate electronic devices, as well as be patient during malfunctions. Some readers enjoy the sleek and smooth look of an e-Reader. Other readers prefer the feeling of holding a book and physically flipping the pages.