Ebooks – glossary of terms

This glossary contains most popular terms used to describe ebooks. It’s meant to be simple and clear, so that all readers, not only tech-savvy ones, could find it helpful.

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Adobe Digital Editions free application for PC and Mac computers in which you can read and manage epub and pdf ebooks, either unprotected or with Adobe DRM

Adobe DRM (Adept) most common DRM system for epub and pdf files. Used, among others, by Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Sony ebookstores

Android developed by Google, operating system of many mobile devices, smartphones and tablets, including Kindle Fire, Nook Color and Kobo Vox

backlight (backlit) screen a type of the display which produces a visible image thanks to a source of light placed behind it. Used in computers, televisions, and tablets

Calibre popular application for file conversion (epub«»mobi ) and management of ebook collections

cloud technology which lets store user’s ebooks on a server of a provider. Thanks to that the user can access them from any device and have them instantly synced

DRM (Digital Rights Management) system designed to protect ebook files from opening by unauthorized users or on unauthorized devices. You can’t read Kindle ebook on Nook and Nook ebook on Kindle, because they have different DRMs

ebook (e-book, eBook) electronic book; a book-length publication in digital form. It is a digital file, which may consist not only of text and pictures, but also video and audio elements. Still confused by many users with ereader

eink (e-ink, eInk) electrophoretic ink; a special type of epaper, developed and manufactured by E-Ink Corporation

enhanced ebook electronic book with added audio, video and other elements, which let users interact with content. Usually enhanced ebooks are sold as standalone book applications

epaper (e-paper, ePaper) electronic paper; a range of displays which are designed to resemble the look of ink on a paper. Epaper screen doesn’t emit its own light, it doesn’t cause eye strain and you can read books in daylight

epub (ePub, EPUB) most popular type of a file format in which ebooks are prepared. Text in epub file can be optimized for a specific device. You can change font size and typeface. The file extension is .epub

ereader (e-reader, eReader) electronic reader; electronic device designed specifically to read ebooks. The most popular ereader is Kindle

frontlight (frontlit) screen to illuminate this screen, the source of light is placed around it. Thanks to that reading on an eink ereader can be possible even in poor light conditions

iBooks application for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch for reading and buying ebooks from iBooks Store

iBooks Author a free application to produce ebooks enhanced with multimedia elements (audio, video)

iBooks Store ebookstore run by Apple. It can be accessed either from iBooks or iTunes

iOS operating system of mobile devices from Apple: iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch

iPad the most popular tablet in the world, produced by Apple. There are many available ereading applications for iPad, including iBooks, Kindle, Nook and Kobo

iTunes application for Mac and PC computers which gives access to music, books, podcasts and videos offered by Apple

kf8 (kindle format 8) a new ebook file format from Amazon, replacing mobi. It allows to develop much more complex and interactive ebooks

Kindle brand of devices from Amazon. Kindle ereaders were launched in 2007 and quickly became a synonym of an ereader. Since November 2011 also Kindle tablets are sold

mobi (mobipocket) type of a digital file format, which can be read on Kindle ereaders. The file extension is .mobi

Nook the brand of ereaders, tablets and applications from Barnes & Noble

pbook print book; a book-length publication in print format. Used mainly when print and digital books are compared to each other

pdf ebook file format with a fixed layout, text and graphics. A newer version is pdf reflowable, where text can be optimized for a specific device. This is especially helpful for small-screen devices like smartphones

self-publishing publication of a book by its author. This form of publishing became extremely popular with the growth of ebooks and social media

tablet multi-purpose mobile device with a color LCD screen, operated by a touchscreen

text-to-speech (TTS) a technology which converts written text into speech, using a voice synthesizer

touchscreen type of an electronic display, which lets operate a device by touching a screen with fingers

unprotected file ebook file which doesn’t have DRM. For example, an unprotected epub file can be read on any device or application which reads epub format