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Curl Up and Read From a Screen

Techstination feature for Tuesday, November 9, 1999

A big push for eBooks. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bootcamp, a report on computers and technology. Nothing like curling up by the fire and opening up that digital reading device. That day is coming sooner than you think. RR Donnelley ...the company that prints everything from best sellers to magazines and phone books is shifting digital publishing into high gear....

"We are going to expand our service offering, build a content repository of tens of thousands of titles and make that available to a large number of readers."

Senior VP Mark Bayer. You won't have to go out and buy an eBook device for hundreds of dollars. You probably already have one. A desktop or laptop computer will do...with software Microsoft will distribute next Spring.

"By putting Microsoft Reader on 150 million PCs and laptops, we hope to create demand for electronic books in the hundreds of thousands or maybe even the millions of customers."

Microsoft's Dick Brass. The new Reader software with ClearType font technology makes a computer or handheld screen acceptable as a reading device....and protects content from being illegally copied. The advantages are enormous...

"A little handheld eBook can store thousands of titles. A modern laptop can store 35 thousand titles. They're not really eBooks. They're really libraries that you can hold in your hand."

Within ten years, they could be more popular than printed books.