Monday, July 30, 2012

Jeff Bezos interviewed on Kindle

Jeff Bezos interviewed on Kindle by Len Edgerly. Text here, audio here.
And really, until Kindle, nothing in the digital era really made it easier to read long-form. People didn’t want to read long-form on their laptop. We tried that actually. We offered eBooks to people to buy as PDFs and other ways. You needed an electron microscope to find sales. Nobody wanted that.

Of course that's a slight exaggeration, there were several ereading devices prior to the Kindle. (Rocket eBook, SoftBook, Sony Reader, CyBook.) But the problem was that they did not have the high-profile sales- and content-ecosystem to back them up. And they didn't have some of Kindle's inventions, like the free cell-net connection for buying books directly on the device.
But there's no doubt that without the Kindle and Amazon's huge push behind it, ebooks would not already (2011-2012) count for at least a third of book sales, in dollars, in the US! I won't claim I'm surprised by that, but it's a bit shocking to see it for real, and I'll bet many people are surprised, the many people who could never see anybody but a few geeky freaks wanting to read books electronically.

I guess my mind is screwed, I am sure I remember an early ebook reader called the "Glass Book" or such, but durn if I can find hint of it now.

Update: A. tells us:
Glassbook did create a hi fidelity eBook reader and the Content Server to package and fulfill the eBooks. It was acquired by Adobe in 2000...


Anonymous said...

Hi - Glassbook did create hi fidelity eBook reader and the Content Server to package and fulfill the eBooks. It was acquired by Adobe in 2000, the legacy of the work continues today at Adobe. Please see:

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Thanks for the info.

It just bothers me that I can't find a single photo of the hardware. That seems incredible. It's not a tiny amount of work and money to create an ereader, especially years ago, but it's like it never happened.

I was quite interested, if it had been for sale in the UK back then, I'd have bought it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Glassbook had started with idea for hardware device but in 1999 abandoned that to build hi fidelity software reader and the content server. You could browse the bookstore from embedded browser and acquire content within the reader. You could lend from device to device (laptops) on IR connection. Glassbook also embraced the library model for loaning content.

The Glassbook /Adobe Content server powered the very first eBook offerings back in 2000 at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.