E-Readers, 1990s style

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

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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6 Responses to E-Readers, 1990s style

  1. Mudpuddle says:

    not a great demand for those at the time, i think… actually i don't remember them….

  2. Marian H says:

    Hm…apart from the tiny screen (might fit 1 Shakespeare stanza), 6-hour battery life isn't really enough for serious reading. It's so cool to see the original concept though.

  3. Brian Joseph says:

    Wow. That is so interesting. I must check out those retro tech channels. I find such things fascinating.

  4. Stephen says:

    My absolute favorite is LGR, who mixes retrotech, retrogames, and a splash of modern games. Techmoan and The 8bitGuy are the 2 others I check out. LGR, however, I follow on Twitter and reddit

  5. Stephen says:

    Very. The closest I ever saw to this kind of approach was an electronic bible. That unit was self contained, though..no discs.

  6. Stephen says:

    I wouldn't think so. I think they were still experimenting with the new medium, seeing what worked. Kind of like “enhanced CDs”…music for your stereo, video on your computer.

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