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Types of digital books

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In common usage, the terms “electronic book” and “ebook” designate both the content (the text itself) and, by metonymy, the container (the medium allowing the content to be viewed). These two expressions are therefore also synonymous with “reader”. However, this use is wrong since, as its definition indicates, the digital book is a digital file and not the electronic device that allows it to be consulted. If the content and the container are often confused, the digital book should also not be confused with its format (ePub, mobipocket, etc.).

There are three main types of digital books: homothetic, enriched and “originally digital”.


It is the “identical transposition of a paper book into a digital version”. The homothetic digital book respects the physical limitations of the book despite the absence of these limitations in a digital environment. This is the most widespread form and the first to appear.


This type of book complements the printed version thanks to the advantages offered by the digital format, both in terms of form and content. One thinks in particular of hyperlinks and the insertion of other media (images, videos, sounds). Thus, by the almost infinite possibilities of enrichment of the work that it admits, the enriched type is increasingly exploited.

“Originally digital”

“Originally digital” is the book “created by or for the digital”, that is to say that the originally digital book was thought according to the digital format and its technical potentialities. For this reason, it has a strong hypertextuality, but it is more recent and less common than the previous ones. In this case, it is also possible to speak of augmented edition. Thanks to the creation of hyperlinks, the literary course of the work can be modified according to the interests of the reader.

(Includes texts from Wikipedia translated and adapted by Nicolae Sfetcu)

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