Happy birthday Bookeen!

A little riddle…

I weigh 1kg,  offer a touch-screen with a 256 colour display, an internet connection and 4 hours autonomy, who am I?

I am the Cyber book Gen1, better known as the Cybook 1st generation!

This little riddle is just the beginning. Take a trip with us over the next few weeks back through Cybook history as we celebrate Bookeen’s 10 year anniversary! That’s right, it’s been 10 years already since Bookeen began inventing and imagining digital reading solutions.

Bookeen 2003-2013 10 ans

Before creating Bookeen in 2003, Laurent Picard and Michaël Dahan participated in the adventure of Cytale, as conceptors of the first European digital book, the Cybook Gen1. In 2001, the first ebook reader, the creation of a catalogue of 1500 french-language ebooks… but this innovation was too far ahead of its time and lacked the qualities of today’s ebook readers.

After this first model and the end of Cytale, Michaël and Laurent recovered the stocks and the name “Cybook” and in an apartment in the 13th district of Paris they founded Bookeen, a company for “book enthusiasts”. It’s during this time that a new, more compact model, the Gen2, is developed, and marketed to professionals like the Chaillot theatre for example…


Tell us, are there any early adopters amongst you who were already Cybooker or Bookeener in the early 2000s?

Cybook Gen1, Gen2, Gen3
Cybook Gen1, Gen2, Gen3

6 thoughts on “Happy birthday Bookeen!

  1. Ah, sweet memories. I am sitting here with my 1st gen cybook next to me (serial: cy0002138)
    Any chance for a firmware update that allows me to read epub on it 🙂


    1. Hello Wulf,
      Wow, it’s great to hear from our Cybook Gen1 users; it’s amazing to know that there are still Gen1 out there in the wild 10 years later, and happy readers still using them! We’d love to know more about your experiences with your Cybook Gen1, could you tell when and where you got it, and any other details you’d like to share? Thanks!
      I wouldn’t count on a firmware update for this reader, though, sorry. 😉
      Happy reading to you!


  2. There it was right in front of me. The long awaited Cybook, my very first ebook reader. Shiny and beautiful – and rather large…
    But let’s go back a couple of months. In early 2005 I had started investigating ebooks (which formats, where to buy, what was available) but I had yet to find a proper e-reading device. I had already tried using Laptop computers, Palms and even my Ericsson R380 mobile phone, but the reading experience had been mediocre at best.
    Then out of nowhere an article in some magazine mentioned the Cybook. The product, which was marketed by some obscure French company instantly grabbed my attention. I wanted one of those. And now, one week and 389 Euros later, I finally held it in my hands.
    The Cybook was all I had ever dreamed of: the colorful, 800×600 pixel touch screen; the different reader applications for different formats; the fact that it could run other Windows CE applications; the (fake) leather cover with magnetic locks… Everything was simply wonderful. It even featured a modem connection for Internet surfing and a PC-Card slot. What more could you wish for. It felt like I was holding the future of reading in my hands.
    There were some downsides, of course. The Cybook did not exactly fit in your back pocket. It weighed a whole kilo and needed charging after what felt like 12 pages. Windows CE was abysmal, and the e-reader application that I had hoped for to read my existing collection newer materialized.
    The Cybook was put aside after a while, but I was hooked on ereading.
    Then in 2009 a colleague showed up in the office and presented his new Kindle. One look at the e-ink screen and I knew that e-readers finally had arrived.
    I did some research and found the Cybook Gen3. It looked amazing but was beyond what I could afford. So in quick succession I instead bought a Sony PRS-300 (good screen but small and no WiFi), a BeBook Neo (large screen but clunky), an iRiver Cover Story (nice but very reflective), and finally a Sony PRS T1 (amazing but lacked backlight). I do realize that for that money I could easily have bought the Gen3, but what can I say; I’m not a banker…
    All the time I had been looking at Bookeen’s ever growing product range. The Opus tempted me, but this time I wanted a product that really was perfect.
    And finally, in early 2013 I found it: The Cybook Odyssey HD Frontlight. I ordered it the moment I saw it and have never looked back.
    Then again, maybe I should convert some of my epub books to PDF and read them on my Cybook Gen1. Just for old times’ sakes.


    1. Hello again Wulf,
      thanks for this wonderful story! I see your love affair with ebooks is quite the saga, but I wouldn’t have expected any less from a Cybook Gen1-er. 🙂 We’re all the more flattered to know you’re (back) with us after all these years since you’ve got plenty of experience to compare with Cybooks!

      If you do end up converting any books to pdf for your Gen1 please let us know. Maybe you could have some special trousers tailor-made with a giant back pocket, to carry it around. If you do this, you might want to also plan for some heavy-duty suspenders to hold them up and maybe a weight-lifters belt as well. 😉

      Very glad to count you as a longtime Bookeeneur, we look forward to hearing more from you!


  3. Gosh ! What a story about ereaders .. !
    I am reading ebooks since 2 years (starting with my smartphone) but I do believe in this new way to read books (and I am 65 years old !)
    First we had cart … and now motorized car. So…
    And that french company BOOKEEN (Cybook) is really to be a head (and u r free to order your books everywhere ….[see what I mean ]).


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