It’s been a while since I had a good rant.
So OK, just to clear up a few things:
A ‘book’ is commonly held to be a collection of pages with type or pictures on them, held together in a permanent binder. The pages are made of paper, which is itself usually made from pulped wood.
You can buy ‘books’ in ‘bookshops’, or online, in which case you will need to pay someone to bring them to your home or office.
There is no minimum length for a ‘book’, though those with few pages may be referred to as ‘booklets’.
‘Books’ have different functions: most are prose, but some are poetry, or composed only of images, or contain advice, or are for reference purposes, or for looking sophisticated on your coffee table.
‘Books’ which contain pictures and descriptions of products or services, and their respective prices, are usually known as ‘catalogues’ (UK spelling), or ‘catalogs’ if you live in the USA.
Arguably, ‘catalogs’ are not ‘books’ at all, even though they are made of paper and have a permanent binding.
Which is inconvenient as I was about to suggest that it was those characteristics which define a ‘book’.
I guess I’ll have to think again.
‘Book’ is not a synonym of story or novel, though most novels come in book form (but so does advice on ‘How To Get Rich’, one of my favorites…)
Novels, and I suppose stories, come in genres. Some of those genres have complex rules, but tend to be easily recognisable because, for example, they feature a detective (of either sex) whose role is to solve a problem of some type, usually a crime, often a murder.
There are, however, ‘books’ about murders and murderers which do not fit this genre (true crime, say), and ‘books’ about police officers and detectives that don’t either (biography?)
So, though ‘book’ and ‘genre’ are not synonymous, some ‘books’ then, match the rules of certain ‘genres’.
Italians talk of libri or romanzi ‘rosa’ (pink), the central theme of which is finding the ‘right’ partner and living happily ever after.
Whereas ‘gialli’ (yellows), so called because they always used to come in a lurid yellow cover, feature the aforementioned police officers or private dectectives resolving fictional crimes to the satisfaction of the reader.
Who is thus assured that, however unfair the world may seem, there is always hope that right will triumph.
In fact, I suppose that’s the underlying point to both of these genre examples.
But anyway, back to ‘books’.
Dispense with the paper and the binder, and just save what would otherwise be the text of a ‘book’ or ‘booklet’ in a computer file, and what you then have is an ‘ebook’, the ‘e-‘ prefix, as everyone now knows, standing for ‘electronic-‘.
These don’t look so good on the coffee table, but nor do they take time and money to reach your home, which might be halfway around the globe from where the seller is.
‘Ebooks’ come in various formats. Amazon has its own, which you can download directly onto Amazon’s ‘ebook’ reader, called a ‘Kindle’. Ebooks for ‘Kindles’ are produced in ‘Kindle format’.
Why might you NOT want to read your ‘ebook’ on a ‘Kindle’?
Because some ‘ebooks’ contain content, such as audio, video, hyperlinks and so on, which will not be usable that way.
‘Kindles’ are affordable, portable, and good for reading in bed. But they don’t play audio.
For this reason, an ‘ebook’ publisher might choose to publish an ‘ebook’ in the, almost universally readable, .pdf format.
This format is commonly used in offices, by banks, and for every type of electronic document, from instruction manuals to account statements. It can easily be attached to emails, saved, copied, printed on paper, and so on.
.Pdf files are readable on your phone, tablet or computer and CAN contain audio or video, though actually including this type of content may make them very heavy (which is inconvenient for readers as it can jam up their device.)
For this reason, multimedia content, such as audio is usually linked to from within the text, not included in the file itself.
Click the link and use your device’s Internet connection to enjoy the additional content that comes with the ‘ebook’
.Pdf files can even be transferred to Amazon’s ‘Kindle’, though in that case any multimedia content becomes unusable.
Where was I?
‘Ebooks’, just like books, can have various functions. Some contain exercises or instructions. Others tell stories.
Some are long, and some are short.
And just like ‘books’, ‘ebooks’ can conform to certain ‘genres’, or not.
When in a ‘bookshop’, if the ‘genre’ is not clearly signalled on the display, pick a title off the shelf and read the description on its back cover.
There’ll always BE a back cover, but it need not necessarily have a description of what the ‘book’ is about printed on it.
In which case, try looking inside the front cover.
And if there’s still nothing, which is irritating, you could guess by looking at the image on the cover, the overall design, or even the font.
If the front of the ‘book’ features, for example, a fedora (a type of old-fashioned hat) and a pistol, it may well be a ‘giallo’.
Whereas if there’s a picture of a wholesome-looking girl, waiting expectantly in a spring meadow as a distant male figure approaches on a horse, it probably isn’t.
‘Ebooks’ have descriptions too, and they’re usually well in evidence, as ebooks are harder to sell…
Pay close attention to the ‘blurb’ and you’ll know, for example, that you’re looking at an ‘ebook’ that recounts the story of a classic movie.
Or that it contains an original story, written by a teacher to help students get used to reading in the language they’re studying.
In an online shop, there’s likely to be the opportunity to look at the first few pages of an ‘ebook’, or more, before you decide to buy it.
This is a GOOD IDEA, as you can get an idea of whether it’s what you need or not, just as you would in a ‘real’ shop.
There may be an index, which will show you how long (or short) the ‘ebook’ is.
And there may be a link to online content, such as audio, which you can try before you buy.
But if, in a ‘bookshop’, you weren’t entirely sure which genre the ‘book’ you are holding in your hand is supposed to be…
– perhaps it features a winsome female in a spring meadow wearing a fedora and pointing a pistol at a handsome young man on a horse –
…then at that point, it might be worth asking a shop assistant.
“Excuse me. I’m a huge Raymond Chandler fan, but I’m not sure if this would be my sort of thing. Could you help?”
That should do it.
But if not?
Suppose you buy the ‘book’, take it home, read it to the end, and (what disappointment!) the girl falls in love with the guy, instead of shooting him and getting clean away?
Then you can take the ‘book’ right back to the shop you bought it from!
Tell them that you read it all the way through to the end, but that it wasn’t what the assistant told you it would be.
They’ll refund your payment, no questions asked.
They’ll look at you like you’re from a different planet and explain, politely, that they can’t offer a refund on what is now a used book.
But guess what?
Ecommerce stores based in the UK (and elsewhere, I’m sure) DO commonly offer the option of a full refund on your ‘ebook’, up to a certain number of days after you have purchased it.
It’s the law, see?
Something to do with protecting online buyers (silly lambs that you are).
There should be full details of your rights and how to exercise them in the small print of the receipt you get at the time of your purchase.
And both Paypal and Amazon will also guarantee your purchase, often for a much longer period.
Which reminds me, though.
Guess what NOT?
Suppose you bought an ‘ebook’ some time back, let’s say for the sake of argument a year ago, but failed to make a backup copy.
Then, just to be tidy, you deleted the email that you received with the .pdf file attached (please don’t do that!)
But later, proudly surveying your ‘ebook’ collection you noticed that one (or all of them) is missing.
So you write to the vendor, asking if they could send you another copy of the ‘ebook’ or ‘ebooks’ you purchased all those months ago.
“Excuse me. I bought a ‘book’ in your shop a long time ago, and I read it, and really enjoyed it. But then my house burned down and it was destroyed. It wasn’t my fault, though. So would you give me a free replacement?”
Good luck with that.
Replacing lost ebooks is usually possible, up to a reasonable time after the legal protection limit ends. People make mistakes, get confused, that’s understood.
But there’s a limit to how long any vendor is going to keep records of your purchase. We like to be tidy, too.
(Make a backup copy of any ebook you buy on your computer, or someplace safe. And just to be sure, don’t delete the email you receive with .pdf ‘ebook’ attachment.)
New Easy Reader ‘Book’ of the Week!
This week our online shop, EasyReaders.org, has a new half-price ebook ‘Book of the Week’ offer!
Nuovo Cinema Paradiso is one of the classics of Italian cinema.
Thanks to Caroline, whose class is doing the film for their Italian A-level exam, who suggested it.
This ebook version of the classic movie normally sells for £7.99 but is 50% off this week, so just £3.99.
One of Italian cinema’s masterpieces, the Oscar-winning ‘Nuovo Cinema Paradiso’, directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, is retold here for learners of Italian.
Growing up without a father in post-WW2 Sicily isn’t easy, but Totò makes friends with Alfredo, projectionist at the town’s only cinema, and develops a passion for movies…
- .pdf e-book (+ audio available free online at soundcloud.com)
- 8 chapters to read and listen to
- comprehension questions to check your understanding
- an Italian/English glossary of ‘difficult’ terms for the level
- download the Free Sample Chapter (.pdf) to check the level and format BEFORE you buy
Your e-book will be emailed to you within 24 hours of your purchase.
However, if you try Nuovo Cinema Paradiso this week and, having enjoyed it, would like to buy the ‘Nine Book Of The Film Easy Readers – Save 50%!‘ bundle, don’t let the fact that you already have this one put you off.
As with all of our great value ebook ‘bundles’, if you already have one or more of the titles, just let me know at the time of your purchase and I’ll arrange a credit for the duplicates or substitute them with ebooks of your choice.
“Daniel, I already have ‘Nuovo Cinema Paradiso’, could I have ‘Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto’ in my ‘Nine Book Of The Film Easy Readers – Save 50%!‘ bundle, instead?”
(There’s a space on the order form to add a note. Or just email me…)
Not into cinema?
View all our material for learning Italian (and other languages!) on the Catalog page.
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