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A Short History of EBooks by Marie Lebert

Produced by Al Haines

A SHORT HISTORY OF EBOOKS

MARIE LEBERT

NEF, University of Toronto, 2009

Copyright (C) 2009 Marie Lebert. All rights reserved.

--- This book is dedicated to all those who kindly answered my questions during ten years, in Europe, in America (the whole continent), in Africa, and in Asia. with many thanks for their time and their friendship. ---

A short history of ebooks - also called digital books - from the first ebook in 1971 until now, with Project Gutenberg, Amazon, Adobe, Mobipocket, Google Books, the Internet Archive, and many others. This book is based on 100 interviews conducted worldwide and thousands of hours of web surfing during ten years.

This book is also available in French and Spanish, with a longer and different text. All versions can be found online .

Marie Lebert is a researcher and editor specializing in technology for books, other media, and languages. She is the author of "Technology and Books for All" (in English and French, 2008), "Les mutations du livre" (Mutations of the Book, in French, 2007) and "Le Livre 010101" (The 010101 Book, in French, 2003). Her books are published by NEF (Net des etudes francaises / Net of French Studies), University of Toronto, Canada, and are freely available online .

Many thanks to Greg Chamberlain, Laurie Chamberlain, Kimberly Chung, Mike Cook, Michael Hart and Russon Wooldridge for revising previous versions of some parts, and many thanks to Al Haines for proofreading this ebook.

TABLE

==== Introduction 1971: Project Gutenberg is the first digital library 1990: The web boosts the internet 1993: The Online Books Page is a list of free ebooks 1994: Some publishers get bold and go digital 1995: Amazon.com is the first main online bookstore 1996: There are more and more texts online 1997: Multimedia convergence and employment 1998: Libraries take over the web 1999: Librarians get digital 2000: Information is available in many languages 2001: Copyright, copyleft and Creative Commons 2002: A web of knowledge 2003: eBooks are sold worldwide 2004: Authors are creative on the net 2005: Google gets interested in ebooks 2006: Towards a world public digital library 2007: We read on various electronic devices 2008: "A common information space in which we communicate" ==== Chronology ==== Acknowledgements

INTRODUCTION

The book is no longer what it used to be.

The electronic book (ebook) was born in 1971, with the first steps of Project Gutenberg, a digital library for books from public domain. It is nearly 40 years old, already. But this is a short life compared to the 5-century old print book.

The internet went live in 1974, with the creation of the protocol TCP/IP by Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn. It began spreading in 1983 as a network for research centers and universities. It got its first boost with the invention of the web by Tim Berners-Lee in 1990, and its second boost with the release of the first browser Mosaic in 1993. From 1994 onwards, the internet quickly spread worldwide.


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