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Does "E-book" Have a Hyphen?

Troy K. wrote: "Kindles, Nooks, and headline hooks: Have you picked a side on 'e-book' versus 'eBook' versus 'ebook' versus 'electronic book' yet?"

By
Mignon Fogarty,

 

E-book stands for "electronic book," the same way e-reader stands for "electronic reader" and e-mail stands for "electronic mail."

The AP Stylebook, the Buzzfeed Style Guide, The Economist Style Guide, and The Chicago Manual of Style all recommend hyphenating e-book, as well as most other “e” words such as e-reader and e-commerce.

It's conceivable that over time, e-book may lose its hyphen. Both the AP Stylebook and the Buzzfeed Style Guide already recommend spelling email without the hyphen. But for now, the hyphen in e-book is safe. Continue to include it. 

  • Authors were treated badly in the recent e-book dispute.
  • E-books currently make up two percent of my book sales.

The choice between e-book and ebook could be considered a style choice, but eBook is simply wrong. Brand names, such as iPad, sometimes use camel case (an internal capital letter), but in standard English such style is unacceptable for anything other than names.

Sources

“E-Expressions.” The Economist Style Guide, online. http://www.economist.com/style-guide/e-expressions (accessed March 12, 2015).

Favilla, E. and Paolone, M. “email.” Buzzfeed Style Guide, online. http://www.buzzfeed.com/emmyf/buzzfeed-style-guide (accessed March 12, 2015).

“e-book.” AP Stylebook, online. http://www.apstylebook.com/online/?do=entry&id=4914&src=AE (subscription required, accessed March 12, 2015).

multiple entries. The Chicago Manual of Style, online. http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/ (subscription required, accessed March 12, 2015).

The Grammar DevotionalGet more tips like this in The Grammar Devotional:

 Print: Amazon, Barnes & NoblePowell’s

E-book: Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple iBook

E-book images courtesy of Wine Press Publishing

This post was originally published February 7, 2010. It was updated March 12, 2015.

About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of the Quick and Dirty Tips network and creator of Grammar Girl, which has been named one of Writer's Digest's 101 best websites for writers multiple times. The Grammar Girl podcast has also won Best Education Podcast multiple times in the Podcast Awards, and Mignon is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame. Mignon is the author of the New York Times best-seller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing" and six other books on writing. She has appeared as a guest on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and the "Today Show" and has been featured in the New York Times, Business Week, the Washington Post, USA Today, CNN.com, and more. She was previously the chair of media entrepreneurship in the Reynolds School of Journalism in Reno, NV. She hates the phrase "grammar nazi" and loves the word "kerfuffle." She has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University. Mignon believes that learning is fun, and the vast rules of grammar are wonderful fodder for lifelong study. 

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