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With print books, readers are increasingly browsing through images of the covers of books on publisher or bookstore websites and selecting and ordering titles online; the paper books are then delivered to the reader by mail or another delivery service.
With e-books, users can browse through titles online, and then when they select and order titles, the e-book can be sent to them online or the user can download the e-book.
Hart planned to create documents using plain text to make them as easy as possible to download and view on devices. Another early e-book implementation was the desktop prototype for a proposed notebook computer, the Dynabook, in the 1970s at PARC: a general-purpose portable personal computer capable of displaying books for reading. Detailed specifications were completed in FY 1981/82, and prototype development began with Texas Instruments that same year.
Four prototypes were produced and delivered for testing in 1986, and tests were completed in 1987.
Some notable candidates include the following: In 1949, Ángela Ruiz Robles, a teacher from Ferrol, Spain, patented the Enciclopedia Mecánica, or the Mechanical Encyclopedia, a mechanical device which operated on compressed air where text and graphics were contained on spools that users would load onto rotating spindles.
Her idea was to create a device which would decrease the number of books that her pupils carried to school.
The final device was planned to include audio recordings, a magnifying glass, a calculator and an electric light for night reading.
Although originally stored on a single computer, a distributable CD-ROM version appeared in 1989.
Brown's faculty made extensive use of FRESS; for example the philosopher Roderick Chisholm used it to produce several of his books.
Thus in the Preface to Person and Object (1979) he writes "The book would not have been completed without the epoch-making File Retrieval and Editing System..." In 1971, the operators of the Xerox Sigma V mainframe at the University of Illinois gave Hart extensive computer-time.
Seeking a worthy use of this resource, he created his first electronic document by typing the United States Declaration of Independence into a computer in plain text. Declaration of Independence into an electronic document in 1971, Project Gutenberg was launched to create electronic copies of more texts, especially books. Department of Defense began concept development for a portable electronic delivery device for technical maintenance information called project PEAM, the Portable Electronic Aid for Maintenance.
Later e-readers never followed a model at all like Brown's; however, he correctly predicted the miniaturization and portability of e-readers.
In an article, Jennifer Schuessler writes, "The machine, Brown argued, would allow readers to adjust the type size, avoid paper cuts and save trees, all while hastening the day when words could be 'recorded directly on the palpitating ether.'" Brown believed that the e-reader (and his notions for changing text itself) would bring a completely new life to reading.