Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Ebooks are a popular publishing mechanism that allow you to purchase and instantly download a book to your computer. We'll look at what and how.
Ebook is short for "electronic book", and while there are several variations the most popular form that you might run across on the web is the "PDF" or "portable document format" ebook.
In fact, I have a few myself.
Let's review the process of downloading, saving and viewing a PDF ebook.
Your experience with an ebook begins with a link. Links to an ebook will generally appear in one of three places:
A link on a website, such as this link to my free Internet Safety ebook.
A link on a confirmation page after having purchased an ebook on-line:
The page you see might be different depending on where you're purchasing your ebook, but the concept is similar: it may contain a link that you would use to download your ebook.
A link in a confirmation email sent to you after having purchased an ebook on-line, or perhaps in a support email if you've been having difficulty with the download. That'll often look similar to this:
Once you have the link, you'll need to download the ebook that the link is pointing to.
Many instructions tell you to simply click on the link. This will typically download the ebook into the browser's internet cache, and then open the document within the browser.
That's not what I recommend.
Instead, right click on the link:
And click on "Save Target As..." (in Firefox it's "Save Link As..."). You'll now get a dialog asking you where to place the file:
Here you can choose where on your machine that the browser should place your downloaded file.
Once the download has completed, you now have the ebook on your machine.
In either case, you'll need one of these programs on your machine. They're free, simply download and install one of them if your computer does not already have a PDF reading application.
Using Windows Explorer browse to the folder into which the downloaded ebook was placed. In my example above that was "My Documents":
Simply double click on the ebook to open in your PDF reader:
You're not done.
You now have an ebook on your computer, and like all data on your computer it could disappear entirely if your hard disk crashes or if you accidentally delete it. Some vendors will let you download it again, but many place the responsibility on you to safeguard the items you purchase.
Fortunately, safeguarding is easy.
It could be as simple as copying the file to an additional safe place, or it could all happen automatically because you're backing up your entire machine regularly. Just make sure that it's backed up.
Fate says that if it's not backed up it's likely to be lost.