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In the 2000s, there was a trend of print and e-book sales moving to the Internet, where readers buy traditional paper books and e-books on websites using e-commerce systems. With print books, readers are increasingly browsing through images of the covers of books on publisher or bookstore websites and selecting and ordering titles online; the paper books are then delivered to the reader by mail or another delivery service. With e-books, users can browse through titles online, and then when they select and order titles, the e-book can be sent to them online or the user can download the e-book. By the early 2010s, e-books had begun to overtake hardcover by overall publication figures in the U.S.
Despite the extensive earlier history, several publications report Michael S. Hart as the inventor of the e-book. In 1971, the operators of the Xerox Sigma V mainframe at the University of Illinois gave Hart extensive computer-time. Seeking a worthy use of this resource, he created his first electronic document by typing the United States Declaration of Independence into a computer in plain text. Hart planned to create documents using plain text to make them as easy as possible to download and view on devices. After Hart first adapted the U.S. Declaration of Independence into an electronic document in 1971, Project Gutenberg was launched to create electronic copies of more texts, especially books.
U.S. libraries began to offer free e-books to the public in 1998 through their websites and associated services, although the e-books were primarily scholarly, technical or professional in nature, and could not be downloaded. In 2003, libraries began offering free downloadable popular fiction and non-fiction e-books to the public, launching an e-book lending model that worked much more successfully for public libraries. The number of library e-book distributors and lending models continued to increase over the next few years. From 2005 to 2008, libraries experienced a 60% growth in e-book collections. In 2010, a Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study by the American Library Association found that 66% of public libraries in the U.S. were offering e-books, and a large movement in the library industry began to seriously examine the issues relating to e-book lending, acknowledging a "tipping point" when e-book technology would become widely established. Content from public libraries can be downloaded to e-readers using application software like Overdrive and Hoopla.
Depending on possible digital rights management, e-books (unlike physical books) can be backed up and recovered in the case of loss or damage to the device on which they are stored, a new copy can be downloaded without incurring an additional cost from the distributor. Readers can synchronize their reading location, highlights and bookmarks across several devices.
Public domain books are those whose copyrights have expired, meaning they can be copied, edited, and sold freely without restrictions. Many of these books can be downloaded for free from websites like the Internet Archive, in formats that many e-readers support, such as PDF, TXT, and EPUB. Books in other formats may be converted to an e-reader-compatible format using e-book writing software, for example Calibre. 2b1af7f3a8