Pioneering E-Books

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WOW! Bob Stein is the pioneer of all pioneers for the eBook. I was taken by complete surprise about how long Stein had been working on the technology that concerns eBooks. I found it interesting that the first composition he wanted to put on a LaserDisc was the Encyclopedia. What a great idea, but very tough to start off on. Stein seemed to always be one step ahead of his competitors. For instance, when VHS was exploding, he was working with CD-Roms. This is amazing to me that he could have so much foresight in this industry. He was the first person ever to include DVD extras on a disc…incredible! I think the best part of how Bob Stein worked on eBooks was that he was not a programmer himself. He had to start from the very beginning asking multiple questions which seemed to fuel creative imagination. He felt that there were many people like him in the world that would love to make their own eBooks if they just had the technology. This is exactly what he did by making HyperCard where he could make something for himself.

I believe the content of a book (print or electronic) is what has the greatest impact overall. I don’t believe a horrible book will do well electronically even if it has been made or advertised well. I believe the tool kit that Stein helped create is a great way for people to publish books. If the content of the book is truly good it will sell and rightly so. If it is bad it simply will not. I don’t think that this will endanger authors’ careers but rather make it a little easier for more authors to get their work out into the world.



Mr. F's picture


I agree that the creation of new tools is fundamental for advancing authorship, and that ultimately, no matter what, good content wins out over fancy widgets and doodads. If book publishing is made more open, independent authors can experience increased visibility (Kickstarter for books, maybe?)