Many users of e-ink technology and its dedicated hardware devices (e-readers) think the e-book didn’t hit the market until Amazon’s Kindle in 2007. Wrong. The e-reader as we know it today was released in Japan in early 2004 in the form of the Sony LIBRIé. But, the idea behind reading digital books on a computer dates by even further with Project Gutenberg in 1971.
From a technology point of view, an e-book is a text and image-based publication in digital form that is readable on a computer or a variety of portable/handheld digital devices (e-reader). The Oxford Dictionary defines an e-book as “an electronic version of a printed book.” Although this is true, a printed book can have no electronic equivalent. Same goes for an e-book which can be sans a printed equivalent.
In 2010 issue, TIME magazine, selected the Sony LIBRIé as one of “Five Gadgets Ahead of Their Time” as part of their 100 greatest and most influential gadgets from 1923 to the present article. However, many authors and publishers have not endorsed the idea of marketing books through electronic publishing. Their concerns go beyond demand and fall mostly with piracy and proprietary devices.