Image: e-books (kindle)
Image: e-books (kindle)
Image: Angela Ruiz Robleshad holding the first automated reader.
Image: Angela Ruiz Robleshad holding the first automated reader.
Image: Michael Hart, inventor of the e-book (Flickr)
Image: Michael Hart, inventor of the e-book (Flickr)

CAPE TOWN - In celebration of International Literacy Day, we focus on the evolution of E-books. E books are designed to be read from an electronically compatible device either an IReader, a Kindle E-reader, tablet or personal computer. The idea was based on allowing you to have access to as much reading material but without having to carry plenty of books. 

This was the very reason a woman named Angela Ruiz Robleshad got her innovative idea from in Spain. 
In 1949, Angela’s first design which consisted of less amount of text printed onto spools operated by compressed air.  She made her first prototype in 1949.  While this book was not electronic it is still hailed as the first automated reader. 

However, her project was never picked up for mass production and she was never able to get a viable patent on the design, but there is a photograph of her holding it in 1949 so she can still claim it.

It was a long time before the next development came along with Project Gutenberg was started in 1971 by Michael Hart. 

Michael Hart, a student at the University of Illinois, was given unlimited computer time on a huge Xerox mainframe computer in the Materials Research lab. The machine was used primarily for data processing, but it was also connected to ARPAnet, a part of what would later become the internet.This set-up allowed his idea of a text based publication in digital form and an electronic public library of 10,000 books to come to life. 

He typed the text into a computer, all in capitals as there was no lower-case option at the time, and sent out a message on ARPAnet saying that it was now available to download. Six people took him up on the offer. The world's first e-book was born.

As the e-book progressed to later times,

In 2000, The free software Glassbook e-book reader for PC was launched. Soon after that, Microsoft launched its first ebook reader software, called Microsoft Reader. Microsoft and Amazon joined forces to sell e-books. 

More applications such as Gemstar launched its new handheld ebook readers, RCA and RED 1100 and Adobe launched its latest ebook reader software. 

However, Here are apps currently out there that you can download on your smartphone device:


- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE