n. A paper book (cf. e-book).

Example Citation:
"E-books range in price from $ 1 for Dean Wesley Smith's Star Trek: S.C.E. #1: The Belly of the Beast to double-digit figures for books such as Susan Sontag's In America ($ 26), and they can be downloaded in seconds. E-books, in general, cost the same or are cheaper than their p-book versions."
—Tara McKelvey, "Easy-on-the-eyes typeface clears screen for better content," USA Today, August 30, 2000

As today's word shows, the apparently inevitable e-book revolution is forcing the language to change in anticipation. Within a few years, using the word "book" without any kind of modifier will be confusing because people won't know if you're talking about a book printed on paper or one that's printed on electrons (so to speak). So I predict that p-book (or pbook, which I've also seen) will become a common noun that will help us distinguish between the paper and electronic formats.

In linguistic circles, a word such as "p-book" is known as a retronym: a word formed from an older word by attaching a previously unnecessary modifier. For example, there was a time when the words "guitar," "mail," and "transmission" were unambiguous. However, the advent of the electric guitar, e-mail, and the automatic transmission forced the creation of the retronyms "acoustic guitar," "snail mail," and "manual transmission."

Related Words: