Read an eBook Week

Here’s a neat idea: Read an eBook Week (March 6–12, 2011). The Huffington Post has the backstory of Rita Toews and her great idea of an eBooks public awareness campaign (“The Story Behind ‘Read an eBook Week’): “For the one week only, publishers and authors offer thousands of original ebooks for free and at deep discounts to encourage book lovers around the globe to give ebooks a try.” Toews has landed some noteworthy partners in the event, including Amazon, E Ink, Kobo, and Cory Doctorow.

The ebookweek.com website has a nice, concise history of the eBook — spanning from Plato, Gutenberg, to penny dreadfuls, paperback novels, and Project Gutenberg. In terms of eBooks historical trivia, interesting to think that one could make an argument that the ebook had its origins forty years ago in 1971 with Michael Hart and what would become Project Gutenberg: “The first ‘e-book’ was born — a copy of the Declaration of Independence. Those humble beginnings would become Project Gutenberg.”

Remarkable to think of just how much has changed in ten years. Perhaps history will one day decide Oprah’s role in how ebooks met popular culture. But Amazon sure wasn’t complaining in 2008 when she called the Kindle ‘her new favorite thing the world.’

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I run the ThinkLab at the University of Cambridge, and research digital habits, productivity, and wellbeing.

tyler shores cambridge

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