Anyone browsing the Internet for information quickly encounters ebooks. Sometimes those electronic books are clearly identified by name and intent but other ebooks are so cleverly disguised that a reader may not even realize they are actually a book and not a web site or some other electronic document.
What exactly is an ebook? An ebook is simply an electronic book. Many ebooks today are found in pdf (or portable document format) but you can also find various word processing documents being used as ebooks as well as programs and text files that serve as ebooks. There are also some unique programs that create ebooks in a format specific to that program.
Ebooks (just like their print relatives) are documents containing words in a convenient package. Ebooks do also have the ability to secure or protect access, which means sometimes you can't print an ebook or copy it while others can be copied and shared easily.
While many professional publishing companies now create electronic as well as traditional books, many ebooks are now created by individuals or small organizations. The readers who use ebooks are just as varied as those who create them. You can find electronic books in physical and electronic libraries and bookstores as well as throughout the Internet.
Ebooks are used to share information, teach, entertain, and sell or promote -- just as are their print counterparts.
Ebooks have many advantages over print books. They are much more inexpensive to produce and can move from idea to finished product much more quickly as well. This also makes ebooks much easier and more cost-effective to keep updated. In addition, ebooks allow greater interactivity with the reader and the Internet.
However print books still retain the advantage in some areas. Some ebook formats are restricted in use to specific types of computer programs, web browsers or operating systems. Also, while computers and electronic devices are pervasive in much of the modern world there are still areas where a print book is more convenient or feasible.
For Internet marketers, ebooks can serve a variety of purposes. Ebooks can be created and packaged as commodities to sell, but for many Internet marketers, ebooks that are given away are a much more powerful tool. Creating useful ebooks that share free information that is attractive to a specific target audience can be a powerful viral marketing tool.
Creating an useful free ebook can help provide valuable advertising for any Internet marketer by establishing credibility and expert status which may well lead the reader to then visit the author's web site and/or sign up for a newsletter. Some ebooks are created with a "soft sell" approach to achieve that goal while others use a "hard sell" approach and go for a sale within the book itself. If you create an ebook that includes valuable information that can be freely exchanged with others then it can, and will be circulated around the Internet and continuously work to promote its creator's web site and products.
Ebooks can be a very valuable Internet marketing tool.