Why ebooks took so long
ebooks are becoming more common today, quickly turning into a new standard for reading books. It's pretty interesting how long the idea of an ebook has actually been around, since even before the mainstream Internet. So why has it taken so long for people to really start reading digitally?
The first digital library, Project Gutenberg started in 1971. In the early 1990's during the development of personal computers, there were ebooks on floppy disks and later with the advent of CD-Rom discs, interactive encyclopedias served as a form of interactive books.
In 1995, Amazon.com launched by selling physical books. It turned out people still wanted to read physical books but having an online catalog was helpful for finding them.
By 2000, the Internet was getting faster and growing, and computers were getting smaller as laptops and handheld PDAs. ebooks were finding an audience as book publishers were starting to publish more of them.
What eventually made ebooks work was by taking a more 'tangible' form with ebook reading devices. Starting out with Sony's e-ink reader in 2006 and Amazon's Kindle in 2007, the devices were specifically designed for reading and came in comparable size and weight as a regular book.
Now with tablets and many more portable devices, ebooks can be read in many different ways. It's gotten easy enough and there are plenty of titles available that getting a physical book can sound like an unnecessary hassle!
For more on the history of ebooks: