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What is an ebook?

1. a version of a literary work that is rendered, stored, distributed, and read in digital form. Contrasted with a printed book.
2. an electronic device whose sole or principal function is to display books in digital form.

To avoid confusion, in Help Centre articles we will refer to the electronic device as an ebook reader device and the literary work as an ebook (or ebook file).

An ebook is an electronic copy of a book. You can start reading an ebook as soon as you've paid for it, so there is no waiting for delivery. Ebooks also offer the convenience of size and portability; you can store your entire library on a laptop or other device.

Ebooks come in different formats and each format has its own features. The ebooks available on are not always available in every format, so please check the product page to check the available formats for that particular ebook. But the format we currently offer is. PDF

Ebooks can be read online in your browser, requiring no extra software. But to download an ebook, you need to download a small piece of free software known as an ebook reader. The particular software you need depends on the type of device you would like to read on (for instance a handheld device or on your computer).  For advice on selecting the appropriate reader, check our device guide.

The ebooks available from are almost exclusively from publishing houses who have legal obligations to their authors. These obligations in turn mean that there are limits on the ways that ebooks can be distributed and used.

Some books are not allowed to be sold in certain places. This is almost always because the publisher who supplied the ebook to us only has a right to sell that book in clearly defined geographical territories. So you might find that the ebook you want to buy isn't available in your country as an ebook. There will be another local publisher who holds the right to publish in your country, and, likely, your local publisher hasn't released it as an ebook.

This is common with consumer book categories like fiction, biography, personal growth, etc. Scholarly, technical and professional books tend to be published globally by a single publisher.

Printing and Copy & Paste

As a rule, it isn't possible to print the whole of a book in a single sitting. There are printing and copying restrictions placed on most commercially distributed ebooks. This is called Digital Rights Management, or simply DRM.

It's the publisher of a book who determines how much of an ebook (if any) you can print or copy & paste. Some publishers are very liberal in this and enable you to print the whole ebook, while others are the reverse and allow no printing or copying. In general, a reasonable amount of printing and copying is enabled by most publishers.

Key information about every ebook that's available from (like printing and copying permissions) is shown on the product page for each ebook. At the bottom of the product page below the 'Add to Cart' button is a link titled "Print & copy permissions".

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