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EBook, ebook, e-book, or eBook?

I went onto my website yesterday and my Facebook Carol Bergman: Writer page to announce that “Sitting for Klimt,” my first book of novellas, originally published in 2006, is now available as an ebook. I then realized that my website was peppered with the word ebook and that I had spelled it differently each time. I didn’t even realize that I had no idea how to spell ebook, that there are no stylistic guidelines, and that the word—it is now a word, after all—has so recently entered our lexicon that there is no definitive spelling. Not even my Word spell check can decide; it gives me all the choices.

Dear reader, you can see here which spelling I have settled on—for the moment. I suppose it reminds me of email. The origin of this truncated word blend—electronic mail—has already been lost and the word email itself has become the symbolic embodiment of this now pervasive form of communication. And though the advent of electronic books is more recent, we are already calling them by their affectionate nickname. No one says or writes electronic books any more.

I know that this discussion is not very important and that whatever I say or do won’t make any difference. Eventually simple usage will determine the final form of the spelling, or we will accept a variety of spellings. The sudden appearance of new words is minor compared to the significant shifts in the publishing landscape itself. By next year, or next month, what I have written here will be old news.

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