My sister loves to read books. I want to buy her an e-book as a gift, but I’m confused about how they work. Do I need special software or hardware to read one? Where can I buy an e-book?
— L.Williams, Plainsboro, NJ

If you’re interested in learning more about e-books, you’re not alone. As more people discover what they have to offer, electronic books and documents are slowly inching their way into the mainstream.

An e-book is a book published in electronic form that can be downloaded to computers or handheld devices, such as PDAs, Pocket PCs, or smart phones. In order to read an e-book, you need to install an e-book reader software program.

Be sure to download one of these free e-reader programs before you download your e-book: Adobe Reader 8 (, Microsoft Reader (, and E-Reader for Palm (ebooks.palm. com/product/browse/software).

The E-reader software allows you to scroll through pages, set electronic bookmarks, search, highlight passages, make notes, or select and copy text.
You can purchase e-books online and download them from the Website of any leading e-book retailer, like, www. ebooks. com, or www.mobipocket. com.