Are They e-Books, eBooks, Ebooks or ebooks?
This article and discussion piece came about because I have often been asked this very question over the years by authors. Many years ago I also went in search of finding the ‘correct’ spelling. It was this research that led me to using the spelling ‘eBook’ and I have stuck with this ever since.
So what is the correct way to spell ‘eBook?’ Are you unsure whether to call your digital file an eBook, ebook or an e-Book? There are many ways to spell ‘eBook’ and it all depends on who the author is. It will come down to your own personal preference as to how you spell ‘eBook.’
At the moment there is no right or wrong way. My recommendations to authors is to use the most used form of ‘eBook’ or to at least be consistent if you decide to use another form as listed below.
I have found the following versions used (in no particular order of popularity):
You will notice that at eBooks International we always use the term ‘eBook’ and have done so since 2004. That is not to say other forms are necessarily incorrect, it is just that this is the most common form used among the industry leaders and big tech companies.
Spelling confusion also applies to ‘e-Reader’ and ‘eReader.’ Again, we prefer to use ‘eReader.’
The ‘e’ stands for electronic which is used for various products such as digital readers. Sony is an example of a company that calls their device the ‘Sony eReader.’
One of the main reasons we drop the hyphen is because with similar examples this is how they eventually go. Take e-mail and email as an example. Now most people just call it email without the hyphen.
When we tried using spell check all of these options are presented to me. The first option provided was eBook.
Another reason is that many search engines prefer ‘eBooks’ instead of ‘e-books.’ When searching Google using various forms we found that the majority of listings contain ‘eBook’ either in the domain name or in the titles.
Google will still lists content using the hyphen version and actually doesn’t differentiate between the two. However, you will find that most related content does not use the hyphen.
Back in 2012 we conducted an online poll with our members and visitors (274 responded) where we asked which version our visitors and members preferred. Of the three listed above, 68% said they prefer ‘eBook’ without the hyphen and with a capital ‘B.’
The main point is that whichever version you choose, you want to be consistent and use the same one every time.
Which do you prefer? Does it really matter?