This past February, in my blog titled Year of the e-Book, I highlighted a variety of online resources for avid readers and predicted that this year is the year of eBooks. Low and behold – I wasn’t too far from the truth! Today, I am surrounded by eBook enthusiasts. I personally use a Kindle; my son, a Sony. Just last night, my visit to the neighbourhood bookstore reminded me just how much I can save if I buy new releases in their electronic format.
I’d like to share some resources that I think you will really benefit from.
If you haven’t read an eBook before, now’s a good time to change that. Books published through IBM Press, MC Press, Apress, and Packt can now be purchased in the traditional print, Kindle, or PDF format, in addition to online book engines such as Safari Books Online and Books 24x7. The beauty of this phenomenon is that, in order to access eBooks, you don’t have to own a reading device. Smartphones (equipped with apps) and computers (armed with software programs) serve as perfect substitutes for optimizing your experience.
One of the many benefits of accessing Books 24x7 is that you can read an electronic book offline. All you have to do is download it! Upon subscribing to the portal, you will be able to search for keywords across hundreds of titles, bookmark books, keep track of what chapter you are on and more. Even if you prefer reading a printed version, the engine will help you filter through an enormous amount of content to find the most appropriate title of interest.
IBM employees can access Books 24x7 via employee home pages. This portal is now offered to many schools as well. IBM Press books are on this site, as are books from many other publishers.
Safari Books Online
Safari Books Online is another electronic book engine and, essentially, the same as Books 24x7. In addition to IBM Press books, Pearson Education and O'Reilly titles are also available. If you are looking for a personal subscription, Safari’s prices are quite affordable. At times, if you’re lucky, you’ll even get a free trial.
Electronic Book Readers
These handheld devices were designed specifically for reading books. This means, they are roughly the same size and weigh as much as a book. However, the text is easier on the eyes. Best of all, they are portable! The best known ones in the market at this time are the Apple iPad, Amazon Kindle and Sony eBook Reader.
A variety of publishers are already presenting me with e-book strategies for future publications. This new channel will make books available immediately in an online format of some kind. Printed copies will be available in limited quantities and/or if a request has been placed. This will reduce, if not eliminate, the need for publishers to have warehouses crowded with printed books, thus remaining environmentally friendly. The biggest benefit of all, however, is that publishers will now be able to more easily update books whenever necessary. This will drastically change the rate at which updated knowledge and information becomes available.
Have we reached the era where readers only want online books? In my humble opinion, not yet. Perhaps there will always be a market for printed books (if you could only see my desk, you'd know just who makes up a good chunk of that market!).
My Christmas present, the Kindle, constantly reminds me of the benefits of reading using such a device. Without a doubt, the Kindle is just the beginning. Everywhere you turn, a different and, possibly, more innovative device is waiting to be explored: Sony, Nook, iPad, apps on iPhones and Blackberries, and the list can go on. Frankly, it will only get harder to keep up with all of them.
To sum it up, the mainstreaming of the phenomenon of eBooks is showing no signs of stopping so get on board today. You will be glad you did.