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COMPUTING

From...

EveryBook unveils first 'true' e-book

Pricey device incorporates two facing LCD screens.

December 18, 1998
Web posted at: 11:40 AM

by James A. Martin

(IDG) -- An eBook maker this week showed off a prototype of what it calls "the world's first true electronic book." Everybook Inc.'s EB Dedicated Reader will be available in the spring for $1500.

This is months after several other types of electronic book devices debuted. SoftBook Press sells its SoftBook from the company's Web site ($299.95, with a required $19.95 per month for electronic books). A handful of titles -- mostly literary classics such as Frankenstein and Gulliver's Travels -- are also now available from SoftBook's Web site. Meanwhile, NuvoMedia recently began selling its Rocket eBook ($499) through the Levenger catalog and its eBook titles through Barnesandnoble.com.

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But Everybook's EB Dedicated Reader is the device that most closely resembles an actual book, hence the company's boast of "the world's first true electronic book." Unlike the other devices, which have a single LCD screen, the EB Dedicated Reader opens up with two facing portrait-page screens in an effort to more closely simulate the experience of reading a book.

The first EB Dedicated Reader on the market will be the professional version, aimed at doctors, pharmacists, lawyers, architects, engineers, the military, and sales professionals. According to Karolyn Kelly-O'Keefe, Everybook's vice president of marketing, these professionals will use the device "for storing and instantly updating their professional libraries and for internal document management."

Future EB Dedicated Readers include The College Study model, to be available for $1,000 next fall. The device can be pre-loaded with a student's required textbooks and reading materials, Kelly-O'Keefe says. Next up is a $500 consumer version, scheduled for summer 2000.

Everybook is working with 20 content publishers, among them IDG Books, McGraw Hill, and Macmillan Publishing, to develop eBooks for the EB Dedicated Reader devices.

Everybook also announced partnerships with Adobe Systems, whose electronic document publishing format, PDF, will be the standard digital book distribution format for Everybook's catalog of titles; Advanced Micro Devices, supplier of the EB Dedicated Reader's processor and flash memory provider; and Microsoft, which announced in October it is establishing an open technical standard for eBooks.

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