eBook history - future by Microsoft (1455 - 2020) 

No one can predict the future, but this timeline represents the best estimates of Microsoft researchers and developers familiar with the history of electronic publishing.

eBook History

1455- Johannes Gutenberg develops a printing press with movable type. The technology enables the manufacture of high-quality printed works at a fraction the cost of hand copying. The first book produced by Gutenberg's printing press is the "Gutenberg" 42-line Bible.
1490- Aldus Manutius founds the Aldine Press in Venice.
1570- Abraham Ortelius produces the first modern atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Recently, the mapbook became an eBook when the Library of Congress American Memory Project digitized the 70 maps and presented them on the web.
1720- Alexander Pope becomes the first overpaid author, earning a 5,000L fortune for his translation of the Iliad.
1840- Wood pulp paper is produced commercially for the first time.
1883- Tolbert Lanston creates the first mechanical typesetting machine, called monotype. Previous to his invention, typesetting was done by hand at a rate of about 2,000 letters per hour. With monotype, letters were set at 6,000 per hour.
1938- H.G. Wells writes World Brain. The World Brain is Wells' vision of a vast print encyclopedia of all human knowledge whose production company would become a new institution for knowledge and education.
1945- Vannevar Bush writes the essay, As We May Think, which describes a device called the 'memex'. The memex is the size of a desk, stores books and other materials on microfilm, and has the ability to link and connect passages among documents.
1965- Ted Nelson coins the term 'hypertext'. Later he writes about his utopian project Xanadu in which all the works of the world are permanently stored in a universally accessible repository.
1965- Media prophet Marshall McLuhan predicts the coming impact and potential profit of the merging of electronics and books.
1968- Alan Kay creates a cardboard model of the Dynabook, a computer with a million-pixel screen. Kay calls the visionary device "something more like superpaper."
1971- Michael Hart types the Declaration of Independence at the University of Illinois. So begins Project Gutenberg, a free computer classics library. Today the Gutenberg collection totals 2,000 works.
1979- Doug Adams releases the popular science fiction novel, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in which protagonist Ford Prefect researches the galaxy for a vast electronic book called The Hitchhiker's Guide.
1981- The Random House Electronic Thesaurus is arguably the world's first commercially available "electronic book."
1986- Franklin Electronic Publishers embeds an electronic dictionary in a handheld device, producing the first portable eBook.
1990- Barnes & Noble opens its first superstore.
1991- Sony's Data Discman is designed to display CD-ROM books on a 3.5-inch screen.
1995- Amazon.com begins selling print books on the web.
2000- Availability of Microsoft Reader with ClearType launches a new era of reading on screen.

2000- Microsoft Reader with ClearType™ debuts.
2001- Electronic textbooks appear and help reduce backpack load on students.
2002- PCs and eBook devices offer screens almost as sharp as paper: 200 dpi physical resolution is enhanced even further with ClearType™.
2003- eBook devices weigh less than a pound, run eight hours and cost as little as $99.
2004- Tablet PCs arrive with eBook reading, handwriting input and powerful computer applications.
2005- The sales of eBook titles, eMagazines, and eNewspapers top $1 billion.
2006- eBook stands proliferate, offering book and periodical titles at traditional bookstores, newsstands, airports -- even in mid-air.
2009- eBook titles begin to outsell paper in many categories. Title prices are lower, but sales are higher.
2010- eBook devices weigh half a pound, run 24 hours, and hold as many as a million titles.
2012- Electronic and paper books compete vigorously. Pulp industry ads promote "Real Books from Real Trees for Real People."
2015- Former high-tech rivals unite to fund the conversion of the entire Library of Congress to eBooks.
2018- Major newspapers publish their last paper editions and move solely to electronic distribution.
2019- Paper books remain popular as gifts, for collectors, for books of fine art and photography, and for those who prefer a print reading experience.
2020- Ninety percent of all titles are now also sold in electronic as well as paper form. Webster alters its first definition of the word "book" to refer to eBook titles read on screen. The new definition for "book" is: "a substantial piece of writing commonly displayed on a computer or other personal viewing device."




2000 Jan de Waal
Info: info@digibieb.nl / Openbare Bibliotheek Oss