The SoftBook Reader

The SoftBook was the first eBook reading device, the predecessor to the iPad or Kindle. I was on the starting line-up of this start-up company. There I pioneered the look and feel for electronic reading material. I am an author on the patent for the Open eBook markup language that is harnessed to lay out books, periodicals, and documents.

Typical of a start-up, the hats I wore at SoftBook were many. I worked on developing tools used to layout reading material for the device. I wrote the Style Guide on how to lay out content. I managed a Content Conversion team to build a library of public domain books. In a Professional Services role, I was assigned our most important enterprise clients, such as the American Red Cross, the Texas Education Agency, and the House Republican Committee. I gave audience to clients’ specific document needs, devised custom systems that met their unique requirements, and taught them to then convert their content on their own.

On top of the eBook-specific work, I also designed of a number of the company’s web sites. My knack to work with very little direction and ill-defined goals and produce results nonetheless, lent to the success of SoftBook, which was then bought up by Gemstar-TV Guide.

FUN FACT: I was probably the first person on the planet to get my “book” signed by an author—electronically. Dan Brown (famous for “The DaVinci Code”) was rather surprised at a book signing when I handed him a SoftBook and a stylus!

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