In 2007, there were already ebook readers. Most of them were large, ridiculously heavy, with lcd screens. Bookeen’s was called the “Cyber Book” or Cybook Gen1: it weighed 1kg, had a 256 colour touchscreen, an internet connection and a battery life of about 4 hours…
October 2007: presenting the Cybook Gen3
Then in October, Bookeen released a Cybook which was a huge departure from its predecessors. The Cybook Gen3 was here, and it was revolutionary! Small, thin, feather-light (a mere 174g!), a battery that lasted weeks on a single charge, and most importantly, an e-ink screen. Ebook reading was suddenly portable! An ebook reader that fit in a pocket and weighed nothing could go anywhere (and everywhere) with you, and you could even read comfortably in full sunlight — just like a paper book.
The Cybook Gen3 was the first ebook reader with an e-ink screen I ever saw and I still remember how amazed I was the first time I got a look at it. The bare e-ink screen, with its matte, ever so slightly grainy surface, looked impossibly like a printed page that could change in the blink of an eye. It was truly magic. Better than Harry Potter’s moving photos!
I wasn’t the only one amazed. The Gen3 was a huge success from the start: no matter how many were produced, there were so many orders that there was a waiting list of several weeks to get one. By the beginning of 2008, Bookeen was selling the Cybook Gen3 for 350€/$ in more than 11 countries.
10 years later, we’ve come a long way! Digital reading has become significantly more accessible since its early days, with a standard format and more democratic pricing. But there are still Gen3’s out in the world and from time to time we’ll run into a happy Gen3 reader in a book fair or elsewhere. Sometimes people even send us photos of them on twitter or facebook and we absolutely love to see them!