Where did the story of ebooks begin?

Peter James's Host, published on two disks, was an early example – but exactly where the medium started life is surprisingly tricky to identifyWhat was the first ebook? Debate rages … When Peter James published his thriller Host on two floppy disks, in 1993, it was billed as the "world's first electronic novel", and attacked as a harbinger of the apocalypse which would destroy literature as we knew it. Now it has been accepted into the Science Museum's collection as one of the earliest examples of the form, as the spotlight of academia begins to shine on the history of digital publishing."I got absolutely pilloried," says James. "I was on Today accused of killing the novel, I was a front-page headline on papers in Italy – 99% of the press was negative … one journalist even took his computer on a wheelbarrow to the beach, along with a generator, to read Host in his deckchair."The digital version of the novel (it was also published physically) went on to sell 12,000 copies, according to James, and two years later, he was speaking on a panel on the future of the novel at the University of Southern California, together with Apple founder Steve Jobs. "I said ebooks would catch on when they became more convenient to read than the printed novel," said James. "It was astonishing the amount of outrage it caused."And Host – about a scientist who downloads his brain into a computer and has his body frozen – has now become a historical artefact, accepted into the Science Museum's... Continue reading at 'The Guardian'

[ The Guardian | 2014-03-12 00:00:00 UTC ]
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