A Short History of EBooks

A Short History of EBooks

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A Short History of EBooks by Marie Lebert

Published:

2009

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A Short History of EBooks

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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 thousands of hours of web surfing and 100 interviews conducted worldwide.

Book Excerpt

and "Peter Pan" because they would each fit on one 360 K disk, the standard of the time. In 2002, the standard disk was 1.44 M and could be compressed as a ZIP file.

A practical file size is about 3 million characters, more than long enough for the average book. The ASCII version of a 300- page novel is 1 M. A bulky book can fit in two ASCII files, that can be downloaded as is or in ZIP format. An average of 50 hours is necessary to get an ebook selected, copyright-cleared, scanned, proofread, formatted and assembled.

A few numbers are reserved for "special" books. For example, eBook #1984 is reserved for George Orwell's classic, published in 1949, and still a long way from falling into public domain.

The "output" in 2001 and 2002 was an average of 100 books per month.

In spring 2002, Project Gutenberg's ebooks represented 25% of all the public domain works freely available on the web, an impressive result if we think of all the pages that were scanned and proofread by thousands o

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