This paper discusses the genesis of e‐books and derives a comprehensive definition from various definitions reported for them. It lists the various types of e‐books with their characteristics and the major players in the market. It also highlights the pros and cons of e‐books, and compares select e‐book reader hardware and software with their specifications, requirements and characteristics. The impact of e‐books on the publishing industry, on libraries and librarians, and digital rights management is discussed. The author concludes that e‐books are rapidly becoming a viable alternative and provide growing advantages over the traditional medium.
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