There is no doubt that the whole world of publishing, writing and reading has been changed by the popularity of eBooks. Most notably thanks to the success of Amazon’s Kindle, fans of books today are increasingly virtually reading them rather than being lumbered with an unwieldy physical book. The eBook has offered a great deal of functionality that a mere paper and ink title can never compare with to such a degree that the eBook is literally reinventing reading.
Although we all know the Kindle by now, and perhaps associate it with eBooks more than any other device or application, there are in fact a wealth of ways available to read eBooks. The best iPhone eBook apps are already stocked with an excellent selection of modern and classics, a wealth of features that can be customised by the user, as well as interfaces that ensure reading the eBooks can be just as enjoyable as through the dedicated Kindle. Of course, if you favour the feature set of the Kindle then Amazon offer the Kindle app for the iPhone as well.
One of the obvious advantages of an eBook reader over reading a normal book is one which is common with any computerised text system over a physical product. If you’re looking for a particular passage or word in a paperback then this can obviously be an extremely arduous process. E-reader apps enable you to skip to any part of the book at any point that you want, and then skip back to where you were before with ease.
You can even highlight words, phrases, sentences or passages so that they appear highlighted whenever you encounter them in within an eBook. This can be extremely useful for academic revision in particular.
In common with this, bookmarking with eBook apps is extremely straightforward, and far more sophisticated than the old fashioned method of folding the corner of a page back. With eBook apps, one can create multiple bookmarks and references, which can be preserved for posterity, or simply remain part of the eBook on a temporary basis.
Another highly useful feature of eBooks is the ability to annotate a text yourself. This again has obvious academic implications, but can just be a fun and useful thing to do if you’re reading a book that you enjoy and wish to come back to it at a later date. This system is obviously considerably more flexible and convenient than anything offered by a conventional text, and doesn’t necessitate ruining the book permanently either!
Finally, possibly the most obvious way that eBook apps are revolutionising reading is akin to the way that the iPod has had a profound influence on the way that we consume music. Want to take 25 books with you away on holiday and dip into each of them? This no longer requires an extra suitcase and baggage charge; with an eBook app you can download thousands of books and access them whenever you want.
Although there is still something magical and compelling about a physical book, and they’re a long way from being defunct, eBooks are changing are relationship with the printed word forever.
Stuart Gonsal is the co-founder and managing director of Lava Digital Agency, a boutique web design, development and digital strategy agency in Melbourne. Stuart believes in collaboration and that people and ideas are at the heart of every successful project. To know more about him, visit at http://www.lava.com.au