Tag Archives: SoftBook Reader

eBooks: 1998 – The first ebook readers

How about a book-sized electronic device that could store many books at once? The first ebook readers were the Rocket eBook and the SoftBook Reader, launched in Silicon Valley in 1998.

These dedicated electronic readers were the size of a (large and thick) book, with a battery, a black and white LCD screen, and a storage capacity of ten books or so. They could connect to the internet through a computer (for the Rocket eBook) or directly with a built-in modem (for the SoftBook Reader).

They got much attention from book professionals and the general public, with few of them buying them though, because of their rocket-high price — several hundreds of dollars — and a small choice of books in the digital bookstores available on the companies’ websites. Publishers were just beginning to digitize their own books, still wondering how to market them, and worried with piracy concerns. Continue reading eBooks: 1998 – The first ebook readers