Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
When I came to Digital Book World seven months ago, I had a very important decision to make: e-books, ebooks or eBooks*?
I knew I’d be writing a lot about e-books and I knew I’d want to be consistent when I did.
Digital Book World was using “ebooks” at the time but something about that didn’t sit right with me.
First off, digital books were books that were “e,” so I felt more comfortable labeling them “e-books.” Also, I looked at what the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times were doing and they were both using “e-books.” (To check for yourself, simply type the following search query into Google: “e-books” site:wsj.com. Remove the hyphen and try it again. See?)
Also, I didn’t feel that e-books had reached the ubiquity of “email,” which used to be “e-mail,” depending on who you asked. (As it turns out, the preferred style at the Times seems to be “e-mail,” while the Journal seems to prefer “email.”)
What does the Chicago Manual of Style say? Well, a search for “e-book” turns up a hyphenation style-guide that stipulates “e” should be “hyphenated except with proper nouns,” like “eBay.” A search for “ebook” turns up no results. (The AP Style Guide? Don’t know because it’s not a free resource.)
But then I decided to check a higher power: Google.
Using the Google Adwords keyword tool, I discovered that “ebooks” has 13.6 million global monthly searches and “e-books” has 4.1 million, meaning that roughly triple the amount of people search for “ebooks” versus “e-books.”
Furthermore, the competition for “ebooks” is low (meaning there are fewer pages that try to rank for this as a keyword) versus the competition for “e-books,” which is medium, according to Google Adwords.
Not totally convinced, I decided to try the Google Insights for Search tool, which measures overall searches on a term versus the total Web searches. As you can see from the chart below where red is “ebooks” and blue is “e-books,” there are many more searches for the former.
So, why do we at DBW still use “e-books”? Well, maybe we should switch. What do you think?
This poll is now closed.
Go to the Digital Book World Facebook page and vote!
* What about eBooks, you ask? Well, to me, that looks like a brand name, like eBay or Sony’s eReader. We’re not reporting on a brand name here, but a generic thing. Oh, by the way, what about e-reader vs. ereader?