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Invention Of Ebooks
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Invention Of Ebooks

There are lots and lots of different opinions as to who thought up electronic text and by extension the electronic book and when, but it is accepted that the first electronic book made available to the public domain was keyed in by Michael Hart on 4th of July 1971, and led to the creation of Project Gutenberg. This very first electronic book is still known today as the American Declaration of Independence. This also happened to be the year that the first e-mail was sent between two computers.

The aim of project Gutenberg would be to make as many literary works as possible available in an electronic form, to the public. Electronic text that could be sent via the internet and viewed in an internet browser, progressed to become the electronic book available to millions of electronic devices all over the world. This didn’t just happen over night of course.

It started with the Bible, typed up in all its glory by Michael Hart and volunteers, one book at a time and continued with the collected works of Shakespeare. As storage possibilities increased so did the number of Ebooks, with its tenth book, The King James Bible completed in August 1989. Around this point the size of the internet had grown to about 250,000 users. The first personal computer had been invented 7 years earlier, and humanity was taking its first strides into the Age of Technology.

In 1993 the first browser was introduced, Mosaic, and it became much easier pass around Etexts, as well as recruit other volunteers, while Digital Book Inc. offered 50 digital books on floppy disk. As the years went on more and more classics were digitalised and made available and the first dedicated Ebook Readers came into being, known as Rocket Ebook and SoftBook. By the year 2000, 4000 books had been typed into digital content, and by 2002 some publishers were offering their goods in an electronic form.

By 2005 the Bookboon website was launched allowing the download of free textbooks and travel guides, and as Ereaders evolved, the true potential of the Electronic Book was fully realised. The Kindle was released by Amazon in 2007, and in 2 years pictures, films and music were available, not only on Ereaders but on mobile phones, laptops, net books, tablet computers and even portable gaming consoles.

As of today there are countless Ebooks available on the Internet, and countless devices to read them on. What began with a college student typing up a bit of paper that fell out of a bag of groceries has become something so much greater than anyone, except maybe Michael Hart, could have dreamed. Many people, who might never have tried, create their own Ebooks and write their own stories, while others appreciate the ease of accessibility the technology of Ereaders provides today. I for one will always admire what this man created in an effort to make books available to everyone.


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