A digital reading museum is set to open in Paris.
The Museum of Digital Reading (in French, Le Petit Musée de la lecture numérique) will be the first permanent exhibition space in Europe dedicated to the history of reading devices.
Showcasing the first machines ever created to the most recent tools, the space is for "anyone interested in books and technology", including the general public as well as professionals, intended as "a place for mediation" on the evolution of the books industry over the past 20 years.
The "collaborative" project is lead by by Elizabeth Sutton, French digital publishing consultant and co-founder of IDBOOX.com, a website dedicated to e-books and High-Tech products. It is a product of the Labo de l’édition (the Publishing Lab) based in Paris' Latin Quarter, supported by Paris' economic development committee, which provides the space, resources and a network of expertise to help digital players, bookshops and tradional publishers to come together and develop new products and services.
The museum seeks to identify new reading habits which have emerged with digital technology, by making computers, e-readers, tablets and smartphones freely available. For its launch, the museum will focus on e-readers using e-ink technology, described as "one of the first machines thoroughly designed for digital reading", with further devices such as tablets and smartphones displayed later on.
The museum has been funded through donations from manufacturer partners and individual contributions all over the world. The Publishing Lab is calling for further donations (devices people no longer want, not just monetary) in hope of "gathering as many devices as possible".
Sutton said: "This project is crucial because, just as we digitize our literary heritage, we should keep alive the memory of the tools allowing us to read those contents. I am honored to lead this project which hopefully will inspire others and convince book lovers to get actively involved in this new space."
Managing director of Labo de l’édition, Nicolas Rodelet, said: “As in any field of activity, tracing the history of digital reading devices is interesting. It highlights the complexity of the innovation process, stressing the essential phase of adoption by the public. It is only when it becomes part of people’s daily life or habits that an invention becomes a real innovation. The way from one to the other is not that simple or direct. The uses and practices are an important issue the Labo de l’édition tries to convey to its various audiences.”