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How Did the E-Book Phenomenon Happen? - From Paper to Virtual Reading

Updated on September 11, 2014

Print Books to E-Books!

It isn't as though E-Books have prevented readers from purchasing their favourite books in print but it has offered a simpler way to gain access to the world of books on offer. Isn't it annoying when you want to buy a book but can't get your hands on one quickly because you want it in paperback. Now thinking of the ways to get a hold of print books (paperback or hardback) include:

  • Going to a book shop
  • Ordering the book online (from an e-retailer)

Whereas getting your hands (in a virtual sense) on the same book from an e-book store is much simpler and far less of chore. Simply go on the book store app (Kindle, iTunes etc.), search the book title you are after, from there allowing you to purchase and immediately read the book.

From Paper To Virtual Reading!

It wasn't so long ago when the only possible way to get a book was to go out to a store and purchase a paperback over the counter. Those were the days! Or at least we thought they were as the arrival of e-books immediately fell into what book lovers were looking for, the easy route to getting all of our books in one simple, easy to access place. The simplicity of purchasing books from the comforts of home, to then immediately read them is a wonderful experience. Not to mention the fact of saving space in the home, so not to feel as though every book purchase is just another item to add to the clutter.

This article covers the inns and outs of the change with how it came about, along with the impacts, good and bad which have redefined the way the world reads its books. Including the positive effects it has had on the younger generation in reading more to take a breath of fresh air, when a wealth of knowledge comes rushing in.

Nothing beats a hardcover addition of our favourite books
Nothing beats a hardcover addition of our favourite books | Source

Paper Reading!

When it comes to printed books, nothing can beat the hardcover since it stays in good condition for longer, allowing it to sit beautifully on the book shelf. However a hardcover isn't a practical purchase as they tend to be quite thick and chunky, which only adds to clutter in my opinion unless it is an all time favourite book which cannot be lived without. The hardcover edition of the book, also costs more which makes them less cost effective, only adding to the disadvantages to its purchase.

Although (when its the favourite book)- Nothing beats a hardcover.

The paperback however is lighter, less expensive and has a desirable feel to them which is why sometimes we just can't resist a paperback book. The shelves are stacked with paperbacks and hardbacks and it is a delight to just stare blankly at them at times, at all of the amazing books which have been picked up over the years. Although it is impossible to get out of the mind, just how much space a collection of books can take up, especially among those more fond of reading than others.

What could be done to solve this immensely irritating problem... Read on for the answer...

E-Books Arrived!
E-Books Arrived! | Source

A Virtual Welcome!

Do you read e-books?

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List of E-Book Stores

A list of well known e-book stores include:

  • Kindle store (owned and operated by Amazon)
  • Google e-book store
  • Barnes and Noble Nook store
  • Kobo books

Other e-book stores:

  • Foyles e-books
  • Waterstones e-books

Virtual Reading!

The arrival of e-books brought new opportunities for readers and authors alike as it offered readers more choice of books, in a quicker and easier fashion. Offering authors a new place to see their books as well as allowing independent authors to start selling their books as well which made the book market more competitive.

Benefits to the e-books - for readers:

  • More choice- allowing more books to be published in one place, allowing more variety of books to read, also allowing up and coming authors to publish their work easier. Adding to the vast choice of books available on the e-books marketplace.
  • Less clutter- since e-books more customers have switched to solely purchasing books on the e-book stores, since all of the books can be stored on their electronic device (e.g. Kindle, iPad, Nook etc.).
  • Cost less- e-books tend to be more competitive on prices with books costing nothing at times to buy or with very low price tags, although for established, well known authors, the prices will inevitably be higher.

Benefits to the e-books - for authors:

  • Able to self publish- Kindle store, Barnes and Noble and iTunes all allow authors to self publish their books using their websites for free- as long as the author has a front cover and a properly edited book.
  • Wider audience- authors can reach out to a wider audience, with the millions of readers using e-book stores, there is the opportunity to strike it big with a top selling book.
  • Less overheads- with publishing the book on the e-book stores, there is no need to pay for the manufacturing of the print books and distribution to stores and warehouses.

Setbacks to the e-books - for everyone (readers and authors)

  • Bad books- sadly with the vast amount of authors self publishing on e-books stores, there are a lot of bad books on the marketplace. Although with price tags at nothing or very small amounts, what can one expect, with most of the higher priced books, being mostly good-great.

Need Some Help Choosing an E-Book Device!

Now, when it comes to choosing an e-reader device, firstly there needs to be the options available at this current moment in time. The following e-readers are owned by large companies and connected to websites (and apps), which allow the user to purchase e-books through from their own e-book stores. These include:

  • Amazon's Original Kindle (costs- £59) - This is the first Kindle device invented by Amazon, which allows its users to read e-books on the device connected to the Kindle store, where the users can purchase their e-books.
  • Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite (costs- £109) - The Kindle Paperwhite is similar to the original Kindle device, except more up to date with a sleeker design, brighter screen and higher resolution display.
  • Amazons Kindle Fire (costs- £199) - The Kindle Fire is a tablet which means that it has multiple capabilities for the user through apps which allow the user to read books, view films, surf the web, play games, listen to music etc.
  • Nook Simple Touch eBook Reader (costs- £42) - The Nook Simple Touch is perfect for people on a tight budget as it is cheap, good quality and allows the user to purchase books from Barnes and Noble (owner of the Nook brand).
  • IPad tablet (IPad 4- £300 or Mini- £200) - The IPad tablets are great for book readers as they are well known for there long life span, reliability and high quality. The IPad (owned by Apple) connects straight to the iTunes store where the user can gain access to e-books, audio books, films, music etc.

It is also worth mentioning that all tablets are great for e-readers as they all allow there users to download apps from e-book stores, allowing the user to have straight access to the books sold on their store. Most e-store companies have apps including The Kindle Store, Barnes and Noble and Kobo.

The best device on the market at the moment for reading books is the IPad mini since it is a perfect size for reading a book for a couple of hours (or more) at a time and the lightweight feel makes holding the item nearly forgettable. As a tablet, apps can be downloaded including the Kindle Store app which is useful if you are not keen on the iTunes Store. The IPad is also attractive, known for reliability and having the best technology installed on the product (since owned by technology giant Apple).

However for those with the desire to have a e-reading device which is solely for the purpose of e-reading, then the best device would be Kindles Paperwhite which is sleek, easy to hold light and perfect for reading books. The Kindle Paperwhite is easy to use and has direct access to the Kindle Store, making life easier for the book lovers.

The video to the right gives a good introduction and review for the Kindle Paperwhite. Go check it out!

Time to E-Read!
Time to E-Read! | Source
Teen Reading!
Teen Reading! | Source

Are Teens Reading E-Books!

So, are teens reading e-books? Well, of coarse they are reading books but are these print books or e-books I wonder. A PubTrak survey from R.R.Bowker showed that teens are not reading e-books at the moment, with an emphasis on the problem being with social media taking up too much of their time and that teens find e-stories to be restricting; as expressed in the report.

On the other hand authors, publishers and agents have been saying the complete opposite, in that young adult fiction and romance novel sales are going through the roof. This is enough proof for myself, as in the past and present we have seen/are seeing young adult based books being wildly successful. The most obvious being that of the film adaptations from the successful fantasy books including Twilight series, The Hunger Games series and most recently the Divergent series. All of which were adapted from books with the same titles and the same target audience (young adults).

I would imagine that the argument would now move in the direction that the book series mentioned were aimed towards female gender. This would be slightly sexist though, considering the male gender could quite simply get into these book series, like myself as they are some great books with more than just romance to contend with.

A few great books for teenagers to read:

  • Harry Potter series
  • The Hunger Games series
  • The Twilight series
  • Divergent series
  • The Fault in Our Stars
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • The Lord of the Rings series
  • The Hobbit (Lord of the Rings prequel)
  • The Inheritance Cycle
  • The Book Thief

Plus plenty more... Check out Goodreads young adult lists:


E-reader or Paper reader!

Do you prefer to read books on e-reader devices or on paper?

See results

Can Everyone Benefit As An E-Reader!

Is it possible everyone can benefit as an e-reader? Yes they can, as e-reading allows a multiple number of benefits for the reader as mentioned earlier in the article but it is important to try to encourage everyone to read. Since e-reading devices are all so simple to use, it encourages everyone of all ages, even the younger audiences who may not like picking up print books due to the fear of what they may learn or discover beyond the front cover. Well, that fear is no more as e-readers are simply computer screens with words spread across the screen making the pain of seeing a print book, no more. However, on the other end of the stick I am sure older audiences would hate to not have the option, whether to read a print book or an e-book. That is why e-books are so good as they are not seeking to wreck the printing book world but offer a new, technological option for the online audiences, which is especially good for younger audiences who spend most of their life on electronic devices.

E-Reader Community

Get involved in the e-reading community, with the websites which are dedicated to readers who are looking to express their opinions on books they have read, as well as looking for the next great read from other book readers who use the site. These websites are great for finding the latest and greatest books, get involved socially and improve ones understanding of which books are worth the time of day reading.

The following websites are perfect for getting involved and finding the next great read:


To sum up e-books are quite simply phenomenal with everything one could need from an online experience reading a book, with the e-reading devices to make it possible. So whether you love or loathe reading, I am sure there is something for everyone to read on the e-book marketplace.

Any Thoughts? Great! Just leave them below in the comments box.


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    • Craig Easom profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from British Empire

      Hi TolovajWordsmith,

      You've made some interesting points, and I honestly couldn't agree more with everything you've highlighted in your comment. I too agree that e-books will dominate the reading world and in some ways, already are. However, as you've already explained, there is something great about owning books in paperback/hardback. Hence, the reason I too believe they will always have a place on book shelves in people's homes. Thank you for commenting.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 

      3 years ago from Ljubljana

      Ebooks are definitely the future of the business. Reader can easily imagine the problem with space, if you want to have a lot of books at home, but don't have clue how much trouble books give to publishers with storing and transportation which often surpass other expenses, like copyrights for instance.

      I think ebooks will become standard in next two decades, but books on paper will stay for many reasons. They are aesthetic, don't run out of electric power and give completely different experience. Print on demand may change the business of paper books even more than ebooks in my opinion.

    • Craig Easom profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from British Empire

      Hi Nadine May, thanks for the comment. I agree, with the way e-books have hit off and the harsh competition in print books, it is hard to see much profit in print books for any small scale author. However with the increase in internet users, e-book readers, and accessibility online for cheap e-books, it is great for independent authors to get a kick-start. The only question which we must now ask, is just how long and how many physical bookshops will be around in 5-10 years from now? Personally, I'm staying optimistic, but it doesn't seem too positive.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 

      4 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Thanks for your hub. As book publishers we are always keen to read articles on ebooks. From this year with any new title that we take on, we start with an ebook first. Today we are more and more depended on our authors who are actively doing their networking and online marketing next to our publicity work, when their ebook is available. If we feel that the ebook has a fair amount of sales, we then get the book file prepared for print. Our risks are a lot lower, but so are our profits. Physical bookshops are all battling, and in five years time they might become rare.


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