My first ebook reader was a Rocket eBook. It must have been, oh, 1999 or 2000 or thereabouts. The Rocket eBook was a giant, chunky and heavy thing, and it was absolutely wonderful. It was also incredibly sturdy – I used it intensively for almost a decade, dropped it repeatedly, and lugged it along on every trip and vacation. I might still be using it today if it hadn’t stopped being compatible with my PC. It still worked fine at that point – the battery life had shortened and it was a bit battered, but that was all.
Nobody I knew had ever heard of an ebook reader when I first got the Rocket. Reading it in public was a sure way to start a conversation.
Go back a few more years before the Rocket.
When I was young, I would finish a good book and reluctantly emerge back into the Real World, longing for the next book. If only there were some way to have a single book that would magically change to be whatever book I wanted to read, without lengthy delays for ordering the sequel, waiting for it to be shipped, picking it up after weeks or months…