Tonight while checking one of the retro-tech YouTube channels I follow, I spotted an interesting, recent upload about the Sony Data Discman (1992), which was an attempt to sell books as discs. The discs themselves seem to have the same capacity as ordinary CD-ROMS, roughly 400 MBs or so, and the awkward size meant they were ill-suited as carriers of just one book. The books in the catalog appear to be mostly larger reference books — encyclopedias, telephone directories, and dictionaries. (“Internet” is not an entry in one of the encyclopedias, which is not surprising given that popular access to the internet didn’t really take off until late ’93…) The device could also play mini-discs (also demonstrated). The device seemed as though it would only attract dedicated first-adopters, since even the discs required manuals. Not a manual for the device itself, a manual for the book.
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