E-books are celebrating a 40th anniversary. Wow, I did not know they had been in existence that long, as I first heard about them about 25 years ago. Some pioneering e-publishers predicted that e-books would have a huge surge in popularity within 5 years, but it took another 20 years for the surge to really hit. Now we are facing an exciting time for authors and publishers with the popularity of dedicated reading devices and publishing programs that get more books out for readers to enjoy.
E-books began in 1971 when Michael Hart was given $100,000.00 worth of computer time with a Xerox Sigma V mainframe computer. He decided that the greatest value created by computers would not be computing, but would be the storage, retrieval, and searching of what was stored in our libraries. The first “e-book” was born—a copy of the Declaration of Independence. Those humble beginnings would become Project Gutenberg. Today Project Gutenberg houses 20,000 free texts and over 100,000 books are available through their partners. Today over 3,000,000 books are downloaded each month. For more of the history of printing and the evolution to where we are now visit the Web site of Read an E-Book Week.
There, you will also find a list of authors, myself included, who are participating in a week-long celebration by offering deeply discounted or free books for reading on various electronic devices. To view the list of authors and their book, click on the E-Book Week Specials tab on the left sidebar.
Additionally, I am offering a free read of my suspense novel, One Small Victory, at Smashwords, one of the major venues for authors to publish their work.. The coupon code is prominently displayed near the top of the page.
Even if you don’t have a dedicated e-book reader, most e-books are formatted for Palm, iPhone, iPad, and other electronic devices, and there are Kindle apps for most of them. This is a great opportunity to stock up for some summer reading and try some new authors. I hope you will give it a try.