eBooks: A Condensed History

I always think it’s interesting to look at the history of a topic and the interesting tidbits of information that you can pick up for the next time you’re on Jeopardy. So, here is the abridged version of the history of eBooks.

1930—Bob Brown has the idea of an e-Reader after watching his first “talkie” movie (movie with sound). He described it as “A simple reading machine which I can carry or move around, attach to any old electric light plug and read hundred-thousand-word novels in 10 minutes if I want to, and I want to.

1971—Michael S. Hart launched project Guttenberg. The U.S. Declaration of Independence becomes the first digitized book in the world (FYI: 1971 was also when the first email was ever sent)

1985—Voyager Company published expanded books on CD-Rom

1993—Digital Book Inc. offered the first 50 books on floppy disk

1998—The first dedicated eBook reader was launched (Rocket eBook and Softbook). The first ISBN was issued to an eBook, US libraries began offering eBooks to patrons

2000—Stephen King offered a novella as a digital only version

2002—Random House and HarperCollins started selling digital versions of their books

2004—Sony released their first eReader

2006—Sony Reader launched and married its eReader to an online bookstore. This was the first comfortable and portable reader

2007—Amazon launched the Kindle, and priced most eBooks at $9.99, which really improved the acceptance of eBooks

2010—Apple released the iPad with iBooks, and half a million eBooks sold in a month. Google launched its eBookstore

2012—eBook sales surpass all hardcover book sales for the first time

2016—The New York Public Library launched SimplyE, making over 300,000 eBooks available to library patrons while improving the borrowing experience with a single app

The technology has changed a lot over the years, and it’s been very exciting to be part of the evolution. I’m anxious to see what’s in store for eBooks in the future!
If you’re interested in learning about the eBook technologies we offer, contact us or visit our web page.

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