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E-book, ebook, eBook

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  • As a term for books presented in electronic form, eBook is going out of style, at least in edited publications. As of early 2012, most American, Canadian, and Australian news publications that publish online are using the hyphenated, uncapitalized form, e-book. Meanwhile, most web-friendly British publications are using the one-word ebook.

    There’s a good chance the one-word form will become standard everywhere (if we continue to use a special term for electronic books), as words like email and website have done. Some American publications, however, resist the newer forms of tech terms. The influential New York Times, for instance, remains stuck in the 20th century with forms like e-mail and Web site, so we probably can’t expect them to switch from e-book to ebook any time soon. Plus, ebook does not pass spell check, and this works in e-book‘s favor. So we will have to wait and see what becomes of this new word.

    When starting a sentence, ebook and e-book are capitalized like any other noun. For example: Ebooks are cool. E-books are fun. If you insist on using eBook, then you might just want to avoid putting the word at the start of a sentence.

    Examples

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    These are British publications:

    Ebook sales grew to around 7% of the general books market. [Guardian]

    The technology giant Apple has announced a new app that allows anyone to create their own ebook. [Telegraph]

    Nokia, Microsoft and Amazon, the online retailer and manufacturer of the Kindle ebook reader, have all previously been mentioned as potential buyers ” [Financial Times]

    Elsewhere, e-book prevails. These publications, along with many others, use it not just in these examples but as a rule:

    Americans buy more than half of all e-books sold internationally ” [New York Times]

    Apple announced plans to “reinvent” the textbook with iBooks 2, the second edition of the company’s e-book platform. [National Post]

    PCs are too expensive and cumbersome to be good e-book machines for students. [Sydney Morning Herald]

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    Comments

    1. BenSamizdat says:

      Here is the word that will become the go-to term: “ebook”. Why? Try using “eBook” at the start of a sentence. You have to alter it automatically and spell-checkers get confused. Now, e-book is replacing it, but what if you need to add a hyphenated word to the ending, like “e-book-only”? Kind of awkward. So “ebook” is going to the new go-to. This was the same discussion we had about e-mail and we chose “email” for the same exact reasons.

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