E-book

An electronic book (variously, e-book, ebook, digital book, or even e-edition) is a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices.[1] Sometimes the equivalent of a conventional printed book, e-books can also be born digital. The Oxford Dictionary of English defines the e-book as "an electronic version of a printed book,"[2] but e-books can and do exist without any printed equivalent. E-books are usually read on dedicated e-book readers or general purpose computer tablets. Personal computers and many mobile phones (most smart phones) can also be used to read e-books. The inventor and the title of the first e-book is not widely agreed upon. Some notable candidates are listed here. The first e-book may be the Index Thomisticus, a heavily annotated electronic index to the works of Thomas Aquinas, prepared by Roberto Busa beginning in the late 1940s. However, this is sometimes omitted, perhaps because the digitized text was (at least initially) a means to developing an index and concordance, rather than as a published edition in its own right.[3] Around the same time the idea of the e-reader came to Bob Brown after watching his first "talkie" (movies with sound). In 1930, he wrote an entire book on this invention and titled it "The Readies" playing off the idea of the "talkie".[4] In his book, Brown says that movies have out maneuvered the book by creating the "talkies" and as a result reading should find a new medium: A machine that will allow us to keep up with the vast volume of print available today and be optically pleasing (this was a big point for Brown). Though Brown may have come up with the idea intellectually in the 1930s, this is not necessarily what the engineers had in mind when they were crafting the first Kindles or Nooks. Despite this, Brown in many ways predicts what e-readers will become

and what they will mean to the medium of reading. In an article by Jennifer Schuessler writes, УThe machine, Brown argued, would allow readers to adjust the type size, avoid paper cuts and save trees, all while hastening the day when words could be Сrecorded directly on the palpitating ether.Т Ф[5] However, Brown would likely have found our e-readers today to be much too bookish and not unique enough in their own right. He felt that the e-reader should bring a completely new life to the medium of reading. Schuessler relates it to a DJ spinning bits of old songs to create a beat or an entirely new song as opposed to just a remix of a familiar song.[5] Alternatively, electronic books are considered by some to have started in the early 1960s, with the NLS project headed by Doug Engelbart at Stanford Research Institute (SRI), and the Hypertext Editing System and FRESS projects headed by Andries van Dam at Brown University.[6][7][8] Augment ran on specialized hardware, while FRESS ran on IBM mainframes. FRESS documents were structure-oriented rather than line-oriented, and were formatted dynamically for different users, display hardware, window sizes, and so on, as well as having automated tables of contents, indexes, and so on. All these systems also provided extensive hyperlinking, graphics, and other capabilities. Van Dam is generally thought to have coined the term "electronic book",[9][10] and it was established enough to use in an article title by 1985.[11] FRESS was used for reading extensive primary texts online, as well as for annotation and online discussions in several courses, including English Poetry and Biochemistry. Brown faculty made extensive use of FRESS; for example the philosopher Roderick Chisholm used it to produce several of his books. For example, in the Preface to Person and Object (1979) he writes "The book would not have been completed without the epoch-making File Retrieval and Editing System..."[12]