Books on-screen;Bytes

12th March 1999 at 00:00
The Rocket eBook (see below) is a "virtual book" from Nuvomedia in Silicon Valley. It might seemlike a new idea but it's virtually identical to the hyperbook promised in Britain by Herman Hauser, one of the founders of Acorn Computers, about 10 years ago.

What makes the eBook, and its two rivals, SoftBook and EB Dedicated Read, more likely to succeed is that all three are said to have support from book publishers. They can see the opportunity for selling titles via websites to virtual book owners wanting to snuggle under the covers with their backlit gizmos - although a paperback and torch would be far cheaper than the $500 (pound;300) starting price for the device. Cynics will be pleased to know that one of the first titles for the eBook is 'Alice in Wonderland', but true nerds will salivate at the opportunity to surf, manipulate and print their new texts in a way impossible for with "real"books.

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