Online and Digital Publishing
The world of digital publishing has moved on apace in the last couple of years. Before the introduction of dedicated reading hardware by Amazon and Sony in 2009, the term "digital publishing" referred primarily to web based publishing and was the domain of academic, scientific and professional publishing. Online publication of electronic articles and information lent itself readily to those publishing organisations with subscription business models, such as journal and loose leaf publishers. The internet has facilitated such information to be networked and cross-referenced via hyperlink text, plus, highly refined searched facilitators and techniques mean that online research is more targeted and even results in wider dissemination of information. This has in turn contributed to the rise of digital libraries. These organisations store information in digital formats that can be accessed by consumers via their computers - basically an information retrieval system. There have also been many non-networked digital publications for many years now - such as encyclopedia, technical and reference materials for professionals on CD-Rom and DVD.
E-books have actually been available to download for some time. For example, in the US libraries began providing eBook content free via their websites to the public in 1998. These e-books were however scholarly, technical or professional in content and could not be downloaded onto a customer's personal computer. By 2003 they were also providing popular fiction and non-fiction e-books to the public.
But now online and digital publishing opportunities are being seized by popular fiction , non-fiction and reference publishers too. With the introduction onto the market of eBook readers in 2009 publishers had to develop new business and marketing models to embrace digital publishing and the impending e-book revolution.
In September 2009 Amazon's Kindle and Sony's PRS-500 were the dominant e-reader devices. In January 2010 Apple launched their iPad with an e-book app called iBooks, and simultaneously announced agreements with five major publishers that would allow Apple to distribute e-books.
By January 2011 Amazon.com announced that e-book sales had surpassed paperback sales. This, and other statistics such as the 7 million iPads that Apple sold within 6 months (Apr-Oct) in 2010, indicate that the demand for popular fiction and non-fiction titles in digital format is only going to increase.« Digital Publishing Glossary