The Electronic Book Arrives
The SoftBook base price starts at $299 plus a commitment to buy $19.95 worth of books and periodicals each month from the SoftBookstore.
Rocket eBook is a 20-ounce hand-held paperback-sized device with a display designed for reading and the ability to hold about 4,000 pages of text and graphics. A battery lasts approximately 20 hours when the back light is used, 40 without use of the back light; button controls allow page turning, highlighting, annotating, searching, sorting and bookmarking. Rocket eBook features various fonts and personalized viewing (viewers can change the text flow from left to right, right to left; top to bottom and vice versa).
The Rocket eBook requires Internet access and a Web browser and is IBM-compatible. When a title is purchased, it is automatically loaded into a library on the reader's PC. The Rocket eBook's librarian software manages the titles, transferring them to the Rocket eBook. Initially, the books available for reading with the Rocket eBook device will only be available through www.barnesandnoble.com, an online bookseller. Later the titles are expected to become available through other online booksellers.
Rocket eBook comes with the RocketBook Cradle which connects to a PC with a serial cable for downloading. Placing the Rocket eBook on the Cradle also automatically charges the battery. According to NuvoMedia, the Rocket eBook was scheduled to be available in late October for $499 for both the unit and the Rocket eBook Cradle.
So would anyone want to take this new "content delivery solution" to bed? "The nice thing about electronic devices today, with the way storage technology has gotten, is (that it's now possible to have) something the size of a book that holds ten books comfortably and is readable in conditions where a paper book isn't," explained Martin Eberhard, NuvoMedia CEO and founder, during his appearance on a National Public Radio morning edition news on July 14, 1998. "On the plane when they turn the movie on, for example, or, in my case, reading in bed when my wife wants the light out."