17 March, 2014

Where did the story of ebooks begin? | Books | theguardian.com

Where did the story of ebooks begin? | Books | theguardian.com: What was the first ebook? Debate rages … When Peter James published his thriller Host on two floppy disks, in 1993, it was billed as the "world's first electronic novel", and attacked as a harbinger of the apocalypse which would destroy literature as we knew it. Now it has been accepted into the Science Museum's collection as one of the earliest examples of the form, as the spotlight of academia begins to shine on the history of digital publishing.

"I got absolutely pilloried," says James. "I was on Today accused of killing the novel, I was a front-page headline on papers in Italy – 99% of the press was negative … one journalist even took his computer on a wheelbarrow to the beach, along with a generator, to read Host in his deckchair."