The Associated Press stylebook, after last year changing “Web site” to “website”, has now decided to remove the hyphen from “e-mail”, rendering it “email” in AP articles from now on. Even though the hyphen originally stood in for the absence of “lectronic” from the shortened “electronic mail”, in all probability almost nobody except the AP and those who follow its style guide’s dictates had been using the hyphen for the last several years.
I find myself wondering if “e-book” is next.
When I started writing for TeleRead several years ago, David Rothman told me to use the hyphenated form in my articles, and so I did—and have been, ever since. (Though I see that our new editor Paul Biba seems to prefer the hyphenless form, he’s never said anything to me about changing the way I write it.)
I do note that Google shows 226,000,000 results for “ebook” and only 220,000,000 for “e-book”, though I suspect that a lot of those are simply the same ones in both cases—Google seems to ignore hyphens in searching a lot of the time.
In any case, I suppose that if the AP comes out in favor of “ebook” I’ll just have to drop the hyphen. But after so long putting it in, I find it just doesn’t look right to me any other way.