e-books EPUB

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I’m out in the wild chatting with a Random Middle Aged Woman of My Acquaintance. I mention something about e-readers and she asks, “I don’t understand what the point of those are.”

So I say, “E-readers, like the Kindle or Nook, make it easier to read eBooks. They’re basically tablets like the iPad but with limited functions so that they are designated for reading.” (RMAWoMA has an iPad which was why I used this example.)

She replies, “What’s an eBook?”

And I stared at her for several long seconds. This is someone I know can use a computer even if she isn’t exactly advanced. Is it possible that she has really never heard of eBooks? But how do you explain eBooks from scratch? It’s one of those things that seems too simple to actually explain. But I gave it my best try.

“eBooks stands for electronic books.” *blank look* “Like, books that, instead of being printed on paper, are electronic files on your computer.” *blank stare* “They’re, like, digital text files that have the whole contents of the book typed out so you can see it on your computer screen.” *even blanker stare*

Finally she says, “I’m never heard of them.”

But that was all I had. I tried rephrasing what I said a couple of different ways and I never successfully made her understand. I finally had to give up with the pathetic, “I’m not sure how else to explain it.”

I found this very frustrating. I feel like I have above average knowledge of eBooks but I was totally at a loss of how to make this RMAWoMA understand the concept. It seemed like such an obvious concept, I couldn’t explain it at all… like trying to define a word you use all the time.

So, while I’m not longer in the moment, I thought I’d pass this challenge along to you. If it had been you, how would you have explained the concept to my friend?