A Few Words For Kobo Readers

by Michael S. Hart
Project Gutenberg,
Inventor of eBooks
The World eBook Fair

“It’s The Year Of The eBook!”

Hardly any doubt of it as I walked into Borders twice this week, each time to see dozen of Kobos and their display units right in front of me as I first stepped inside, and just last week I have noted they had a seminar on Kobos just last week.

I can tell you that in just the first six days of Christmas huge downloads of Project Gutenberg eBooks took place, totalling over a million eBooks downloaded in less than a week, and the numbers have still not returned to anything like the figures of the year 2010 when we gave away 30 some million eBooks*.

It looks like it will be much closer to 50 million for 2011 and that is just from our one single main site at:


which has an entire library for free download including examples in some 60 languages.

You should also try:


which contains two entire libraries worth of eBooks and examples in over 100 languages.

Which brings us to my predictions for the future of eBooks.

It’s really quite simple if you apply a few facts and some logic:

Premise #1:

There are 25 million books in the public domain. If we do just 40% of those that would be 10 million.

Premise #2:

There are 250 languages with over a million speakers. If we do just 40% of those that would be 100 languages.


10 million eBooks translated into 100 languages yields


Also, even if these could all be completed in first draft forms via automated machine translation in the next 10 years it would
still be possible to put them all on a single petabyte drive!!!

1971: Kilobytes measured most home computer drives.
1981: Kilobytes still measured most home drives.
1991: Megabytes started to measure most home drives.
2001: Gigabytes started to measure most home systems.
2011: Terabytes, even pocket terabytes fell below $100.
2021: Petabytes will be in a house in your neighborhood, and will be able to contain every word in every book, magazine or newspaper ever written. . .and more. . . .


*These million eBooks are just the records from one single site. There are hundreds, probably thousands of sites that give away Project Gutenberg eBooks, as we encourage everyone to give the eBooks to more and more people.

After all, this IS “Read An eBook Week,” so take a moment from your busy day to tell a friend how to find your favorite ones, from whatever sites, or give them the book yourself via email, flash drive, or whatever.

eBooks are one of those gifts that keeps on giving forever….