History and Development - Ebook

Topics: E-book, Project Gutenberg, Books Pages: 5 (1385 words) Published: June 18, 2011

Ever heard of E-book? It is not something new as it has been with us for almost forty years now. According to Mary Jane (2008), E-book, electronic book or digital book is a digital version of a printed book. It is made in a form which can be read on computers, portable devices, some handsets or some other digital devices. It usually comes with tools which can make reading easier compare to a normal book. They allow readers to search for words in the text, find words in dictionary, highlight up important text or phrase, make notes and many more. Sometimes, E-book may come with video or audio elements which make it more interesting. Links are also given which lead to some other source on the net. It is designed in a way that its visualization, downloading and usage more handy. The best part is that it is cheaper than a usual book and sometime, it is free.

Have you ever wonder about the origin of E-book? Well, actually E-book was firstly introduced by Michael S. Hart, when he was still a freshman at the University of Illinois in USA. According to MyEBookDesign.com, Michael Hart was the creator of this innovation and the founder of the Project Gutenberg back in 1971. “Well, from 1971 to 1988-89 no one paid any attention so it was just me with tilting at windmills, but I knew eBooks and eLibraries should be two of the great wonders of an entirely new world, so I was never tempted to give up–never. I just had to wait for the world to catch up.” (Michael S. Hart interview, 2009, November 6)

Project Gutenberg is actually a public library full of digital books. It treasures a collection of more than 2000 books including a great number of classic favourites. At that time, the operators of the Xerox Sigma V mainframe had given Michael S. Hart an operator's account with $100,000,000 of computer time in it at the Materials Research Lab at the University of Illinois.

Michael then thought that the greatest value in computers was not computing, but would be the storage, retrieval, and searching of what was stored in the libraries and that is the books. So, he typed the first E-book, “Declaration of Independence” which was signed on 4th July 1776 to the mainframe. So, because of Project Gutenberg, E-book is introduced and distributed.

After the launch of Project Gutenberg, Michael S. Hart continues to produce his E-books and this includes “The United States Bill of Rights” and “The United States Constitution”. He then even includes the Bible and the classics work such as the collected works of Shakespeare into his collection. According to Marie Lebert (2009), Michael searches the books from public domain available in libraries, digitize the books, and store the E-books in the simplest way and that is in the internet. Because of Project Gutenberg, the people have finally gained the opportunity to own a digital library for free. “…I think that the shape of ebooks to come is almost visible in the way that people interact with text today…” (Cory Doctorow, 2004, February 12, San Diego, California) While Project Gutenberg is still running, in 1985, Robert Stein, a computer pioneer, thought that book can be make into something that is not in the usual form. He got the idea after he had designed the original logo for Criterion. He planned to publish books in digital media such as CD-ROMS. He then started the Voyager Company and starts to publish books in CD-ROMS which is another form of E-book.

In 1990, due to the contribution of Tim Berners-Lee, which is his invention of the World Wide Web (WWW), there is a boost in the general availability of internet which made the transferring of electronic file faster. Then in 1993, when there is Mosaic, a web browser which is designed by Marc Andreessen and his team, the internet had gained another boost. In the same year, John Mark Ockerbloom, a graduate student from e School of Computer...
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