comment on this article

A mobile bookshelf

There’s more to electronic books than meets the eye. Nevertheless, the technology is about to hit the mainstream. By Graham Pitcher.

Until recently, the only way we could find things out was to use books. You had to go to the library and consult an encyclopaedia or wade through shelves of reference material. If you were lucky, you had those books at home. Then came the internet. Now, if we want to know something, we ‘google’ it.
But books remain the repository of our knowledge. Books are, in general, treated with respect – we handle them carefully, we don’t break their spines by folding them, we don’t ‘dog ear’ the pages instead of using a bookmark. Burning books is a symbolic action; destroy a book and you destroy original thought.
Whilst Google and other search engines may have displaced books for reference purposes, books remain ‘front and centre’ when it comes to leisure. And there’s nothing like an ‘airport novel’ for those long flights.
But that could be about to change with the appearance of ‘e-books’. There’s nothing new in reading a book on a pc screen; even on a pda. But pcs and pdas aren’t natural ways of displaying book pages – they’re the wrong shape for a start. The e-book is set to solve that dilemma, presenting book pages as you would expect to see them, allowing you to ‘turn’ pages and, importantly, giving you access to a library from a single device.
On first sight, an e-book doesn’t seem to be a particularly demanding piece of technology. HP Labs in Bristol has been working on e-books for some time now (see NE, 14 October 2003) and the fruits of its labours are getting ever closer to commercialisation.

Graham Pitcher

Related Downloads

Comment on this article

This material is protected by MA Business copyright See Terms and Conditions. One-off usage is permitted but bulk copying is not. For multiple copies contact the sales team.

What you think about this article:

Add your comments


Your comments/feedback may be edited prior to publishing. Not all entries will be published.
Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Related Articles

Silicon carbide R&D

The Institute of Microelectronics (IME) at the Agency for Science, Technology ...

Strategic partnership

GaN Systems, a leader in GaN (gallium nitride) power semiconductors, has formed ...

E-mobility challenges

Mobility is undergoing an unprecedented transformation and those developments ...

New MOSFET family

Alpha and Omega Semiconductor has released a 600V Low Ohmic and Fast Body Diode ...

Get to market faster

A quick look at using Vicor's PFM and AIM in VIA packaging for your AC to Point ...

Battery win-win

I know wearables are no new concept and we already have plenty of devices that ...

Battery technology

The move to battery powered vehicles is gathering speed. The UK has joined ...

On the charge

The UK throws away around 600 million household batteries every year, with ...