E-book readers have gotten extremely popular over the course of last couple of years, as have the e-books that go with them. When you take into account just how commonly accepted they are at the moment, it's very easy to overlook exactly what a fresh development they really are. The very first reader, the Franklin eBookman, appeared in 1999 - but unlike contemporary readers, it did not use an e-ink technology screen. Sony's PRS was most likely the first modern reader when it appeared in 2006. Amazon's first Kindle hit the market almost twelve months later in 2007. Even then, the first PRS and Kindle were far from widely taken up. They were viewed as something of a novelty, largely used by early adopters, geeks and nerds.
When Johannes Gutenberg came up with movable type, around about 1439, it really was a revolution in both book production and reading. Numerous historians hold it to be amongst the most momentous occurrences in modern-day history. It brought about the mass production of affordable print publications, massively increased literacy levels in Europe, and later the world, and was a key influence during the renaissance, the reformation and both the scientific and industrial revolutions. It, quite literally, put books in the hands of the ordinary citizen for the first time in history and laid the foundations for our advanced, information based culture.
When e-book readers appeared on the market, they gave a very handy package for reading and transporting e-books. They could keep great numbers of electronic books in their on-board memory, and they were smaller and lighter in weight than the average paperback. They also utilized e-ink technology display screens, which were terrific to read text on and had a very low power requirement. E-readers can operate for weeks between one battery charge and the next, so there's no danger of running out of power just when you're at an exciting part of your latest blockbuster book. In other words, e-book readers were really the ideal accessory for reading through text based electronic books. It was a marriage made in heaven; the reader hardware and the e-book products suited each other flawlessly, and each became more successful based upon the popularity of the other.
In between Gutenberg's creation of movable type and the early 2000's, there had not been a great deal of innovation in book design. There were certainly enhancements in printing technology and effectiveness. Word processing and computerised printing systems minimized cost and time needs, but the end merchandise, the book, would still have appeared immediately recognisable to Gutenberg and his contemporaries. It was not until the arrival of e-book readers, starting around 2006, that there was another marked transformation in the landscape of books. Electronic books and pdf documents had been about for some time previous to that, but they really had to be read on desktop or laptop computers. While some of these at least were "portable", they were far from the convenient measurements and weight of a paperback.
E-readers truly gained popularity in 2009 in the wake of the launch of Amazon's Kindle 2.0. During the course of the preceding months, Amazon had steadily boosted the amount of e-books available to go with its Kindle hardware. By the time of the Kindle 2.0 launch in February of 2009, just about one million Kindle e-books were available, featuring nearly all of the current bestsellers.
The mixture of a large library of e-books and a very well handled equipment launch was all that was needed to see sales of the Kindle 2.0 go through the roof. It soon became the number one best selling item on Amazon and was a massively popular choice in the run up to the numerous gift giving holidays like Xmas, Father's Day, Mother's Day etc.
As soon as Johannes Gutenberg created movable type, sometime around 1439, it was the biggest improvement in the world of publishing and reading up to that point in time. In fact, plenty of historians regard Gutenberg's creation as one of the most significant happenings in history, positioning low-cost and easily accessible publications into the hands of the commoner for the very first time ever. It was a huge element in the growth and development of Europe, and eventually the world, and it provoked changes in the framework of society by greatly increasing adult literacy. For hundreds of years the form of the literary world was formed by Gutenberg's innovation. There were developments in printing efficiency of course, but the end product - the book-- continued to be basically unchanged - up until the appearance of e-readers and e-books at any rate.