Writers also found that they had much more freedom and power because of the opportunity to circumvent established publishing firms by self publishing their own titles. Authors, a lot of whom would not have been published in the conventional publishing regimen which had been in place prior to the birth of e-readers, self published their own books. A good deal of these were very successful - it's interesting to witness how many self published works turn up in many of the bestseller lists.
And it wasn't simply unheard of newcomers who were checking out alternative publishing techniques. Several rather well known writers benefited from the extra independence afforded by e-readers and e-books to publish their books without requiring publishing companies.
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Over and above enhanced hardware and a significantly increased assortment of e-books, e-reader hardware price tags were falling quickly. The original Kindle sold for $399 when it was released in 2007. In February of 2009, the Kindle 2.0 became available for a price of $359. This dropped to $299 in October of the same year and in June of 2010, the Kindle 2.0 price was cut to $189 - caused by the launch of Barnes and Noble's Nook reader admittedly. Today, you can find an entry level model reader with a touch screen for as low as $79 - although there are also premium versions offered at substantially higher prices. The blend of lower prices, increased availability of e-books and the extra benefits which e-readers offer has seen these gadgets establish themselves in the world of reading very rapidly indeed.
In between Gutenberg's discovery of movable type and the very early twenty-first century, there had not been a great deal of variation in basic book design. There were definitely plenty of innovations in printing technology and effectiveness. Computerised text editing and computer controlled printing techniques minimized cost and time requirements, but the end product, the book, would still have appeared immediately recognisable to Gutenberg and his contemporaries.
It was not until the appearance of e-readers, beginning around 2006, that there was another quantum leap in the landscape of book publishing and reading. Electronic books and pdf files had been about for some time previous to that, but they really needed to be read on desktop or laptop computers. While some of these at least were "mobile or portable", they were far from the convenient size and weight of a paperback.
When Johannes Gutenberg came up with the movable type printing process, sometime around 1439 AD, it really transformed both book production and the act of reading. Lots of students of history hold it as one of the most momentous events in modern-day history. It led to the mass production of cheap print books, vastly boosted literacy levels within Europe, and later the world, and was an important element during the renaissance, the reformation and both the industrial and scientific revolutions. It, literally, put books in the hands of the common citizen for the first time in history and laid the groundwork for our present day, knowledge based society.
eBook Reader Central - The eReader Hub
E-books and e-readers quickly became very popular. As people acquired more e-book readers, additional e-books were made available to read on them. Having a wider selection of readily available e-book titles gave yet more people the faith to purchase the e-reader hardware, which stimulated publishing companies to make even more e-books readily available.
It engendered an upward spiral and by 2009, when Amazon launched its greatly enhanced Kindle 2.0, e-readers were definitely the hot gadget on the market. Having the ability to get e-reader hardware from a company with such a well established connection with books, and one which provided a huge library of e-books for use on its reader hardware, gave customers even more confidence and sales of e-readers shot up. B&N subsequently released the Nook reader which was, for a while at least, the primary rival for Amazon's Kindle.
Quite a few people, understandably perhaps, presume that Amazon's Kindle was the first e-reader. As pointed out earlier, that was far from the fact of the matter - the Kindle was actually a rather late guest at the party. Having said that, the union of great hardware, a very large library of e-books and Amazon's alreadying existing affiliation with books gifted the Kindle a considerable advantage which secured it the top spot in the market. There have been a great many challengers over the course of the intervening five years, including the Nook reader from B&N and a range of readers from Kobo, but Amazon appears to be solidly ensconced in the number one position - a scenario which seems likely to continue for the foreseeable future.