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3.39  ·  Rating Details ·  136 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
A futuristic satire on the fate of the publishing industry after the invention of "cyberbooks", electronic books which eliminate the need for paper, printers, salesmen, distributors and even booksellers.

Ben Bova on Cyberbooks

My novel “Cyberbooks” was science fiction when it was published in 1989. Today it’s coming true.

“Cyberbooks” was a satirical look at how the book-publ
Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
Published by Tor Books (first published May 1989)
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Olga Godim
Jul 30, 2013 Olga Godim rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
When this book was published in 1989, it was clearly a science fiction. Now, in 2013, only 14 years later, it became a widespread reality, with deviation in only tiny details. Rarely a sci-fi novel can boast such a fate, especially when its focus is so far from science. Cyberbooks is a sci-fi satire on the publishing industry, a mockery of every aspect of publishing: from editing to technology to royalties.
Some phrases in the book jump at the reader, demanding a comment, a rebuttal, or an agree
Nov 05, 2013 Andrew rated it really liked it
Now that we exist in a world where electronic books (and the devices to read them) have become widely available and used, it is interesting to look back at what the reaction of the publishing industry might have been to the very idea of paperless books. The e-book (as we’ve come to call them) has lived up to its promise of reducing the costs of books and expanding the selection of titles available, as projected in the novel. But it is easy to see how e-readers and the internet have cut into the ...more
Millie Taylor
Jul 27, 2016 Millie Taylor rated it liked it
Ben Bova is one of my favorite authors and I usually enjoy his books. You can definitely tell that this was one of his early works. Usually, his characters are engaging and you can really tell a lot about them and what's going on. In his early stuff, however, the characters are flat and there really isn't much development.

The story is still good, but it's a lot like eating a sandwich that's mostly stale bread. You know that the good stuff is there, but you have to deal with the blandness to tas
I picked up this book for free a week before Christmas and low and behold on Christmas Day, my partner and I receive a Kindle as a joint present. It’s a little less like the bulky cyberbook which looks reminiscent of a 1990’s cassette player and requires miniature wafers but in essence it’s the same. Of course the Kindle hasn’t brought the downfall of the publishing industry...yet!
This is classic sci-fi pulp. The characters are one dimensional and the plot is by the numbers but it is unexpected
John Loyd
Apr 08, 2015 John Loyd rated it really liked it
Cyberbooks (1989) 283 pages by Ben Bova.

The premise of the story is the creation of a device to read books electronically. Not too much of a stretch from reality. What is a stretch is how his world reacts to the reader, and the assumptions of what it would do. Somehow the invention would immediately replace what exists, causing massive unemployment.

Carl Lewis, a professor in Boston, invents the electronic book reader and comes to a New York publishing firm to sell his device. He knows an editor
Oct 09, 2008 holy_fire rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes a funny read
a funny look at the publishing industry...

short plot desciption: Carl Lewis has while working at MIT developed an invention that will revolutionize the publishing industry. His "Cyberbooks"-device will reduce costs and time, save trees and bring knowledge to the masses...or so he thinks before he tries to sell his invention to the publisher Bunker Books...

my thoughts: quite visionary for the time it was written (1989) Bova predicts more or less accurate why we still at the time I'm writing these
Jun 18, 2014 Max rated it liked it
3.5 stars, definitely. This is a very light, breezy, somewhat darkly comic look at the near future as forecast by the author in 1989. Oh, it also does a pretty good job of predicting electronic books and their effect on the market/economy/society, etc. Some casually racist and sexist attitudes linger within the late-80s-written pages, but I would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun "no space-ships or aliens" kind of sic-fi story.

Oh, I should mention: I bought my copy of this book at a surel
Nov 30, 2014 Kevin rated it liked it
A noir tale of the publishing industry the intention here clearly to feel retro. And yet, as dated as some of the technology is here, quite prescient.
I kept thinking "got that wrong", and "that tech is obsolete". And yet in these pages written so very long ago we can also see why eBooks had to be adopted, and why they have swept the industry recently (after a too-long delay).

Oh, and there's a serial-murder mystery woven throughout. Classic Noir, and yet puts you on the edge of your seat 'till th
Kelsea Dawn Hume
Mar 20, 2012 Kelsea Dawn Hume rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
Buxom Book Brief:

Take a look at the cover of this book, then tell me you don’t want to read it. This is a science fiction book about the advent of ereaders. It was published in 1989. The writing may not be superb, but that hardly matters, because it is a SCIENCE FICTION BOOK ABOUT EREADERS. It mocks New York, satirizes the publishing industry, and involves a belly-dancing editor, an agoraphobic CEO, plenty of plastic surgery, and a weapon wielding writer. What’s not to like?


1) You love
Mar 29, 2010 Weebly rated it really liked it
An interesting book, kind of funny to read considering how the electronic reading device featured at the centre of the plot does now exist, but I see no sign of a collapse of the publishing industry yet.

This book had murder, intreague, romance, and a bit of science. There were lots of characters to keep track of which was confusing at times, but I would recommend it. Not quite your normal sci-fi book.
Laz the Sailor
Feb 11, 2012 Laz the Sailor rated it it was amazing
I am giving this 5 stars purely because it was so clearly prophetic and accurate. The writing was good, and the satire was fun, but I'm sure most people think it has a pretty mundane style.

I read this in the early 90s, and I agreed with it then, and I bought a Kindle as soon as the initial bugs were fixed (never buy V1.0). The same argument has been made about online music and movie downloads, and they are all wrong. There is profit in progress.
Apr 12, 2010 Tanya rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Funny that this isn't available as an eBook!

I've been using the Kindle since it came out and have seen the turmoil it's created between readers, publishers and authors. With all that, reading this book was so funny! The publishers are all evil and eccentric.

Humor, murder, espionage and a love interest make this very readable.
May 03, 2016 MikaHatter rated it liked it
It was fascinating to read what people thought e-readers would be like back in the 1990s. The predictions on fashion and culture were amusing too. It reads similar to a pulp fiction but I thought the author was clever in how he handled potential reactions to e-readers. Thankfully nothing as sensational actually happened when the Nook and Kindle came out.
Berin Kinsman
I picked this up in a blind "science fiction grab bag" at a used bookstore, six paperbacks for $2 but you don't know what you're getting. The book was published in 1989 and plot deals with a revolutionary "electronic book". I was fascinated with the cockeyed futurism, where there's GPS and maglev trains and robots but no one has invented an eReader.
Jul 02, 2012 Cat. rated it it was ok
I tried, I really did; it's a great, forward-thinking concept--electronic book readers FTW, 20 years before they actually appeared on the market. But...the dialogue and plot are way too formulaic-SF and since that's not really my cuppa, I gave up about 50 pages in. This gets two stars mainly because of the concept.
Bill Seitz
Feb 19, 2010 Bill Seitz rated it really liked it
Lots of fun, showing the craziness inside the publishing houses.

I agree it seems likely that mainstream publishers will be *dragged* into ebooks, rather than jumping on-board happily.

One critique: a little too much chemical DeusExMachine going on, between pheromones and psychotropic book-glue...
Paul Mclaughlan
Oct 18, 2011 Paul Mclaughlan rated it liked it
Can't decide whether I wish I had read this before writing my own 'Bibliotek,' or whether it is better having found my own way to the punchline (though appearing boorishly ill-read to those who'd beat me to it)?
Over all, fine book, a little bit too silly for my tastes. ... did I just say that?!
Thom Dunn
When the protagonist shows his "cyberbook" idea to a friend, the friend remarks, "Jesus Christ ! kid, You're gonna get us both killed !"
A wry, slightly absurd book about the invention of the e-book. A terrific satire on modern life, especially publishing though no one is spared: media, courts, police, modern transportation and so on.
Ben mcclung
Feb 09, 2015 Ben mcclung rated it liked it
An interesting look at the potential future of publishing. There's a lot of ridiculous sequences in this novel that come out of left field but overall I enjoyed the read.
Laura Guill
Jun 26, 2014 Laura Guill rated it it was ok
Hilarious in a sort of a retro future way, with very 80's characters and visuals.

(Also fun because my copy was a paperback picked up at the library book sale -- not an ebook!)
Timothy Clemann
Timothy Clemann rated it liked it
Jan 02, 2013
Dena rated it liked it
May 01, 2013
Vitalik rated it did not like it
Nov 14, 2011
W.R.R. Munro
W.R.R. Munro rated it it was ok
Apr 28, 2012
Andrew rated it really liked it
Feb 28, 2014
David rated it liked it
Oct 16, 2013
Scott McNulty
Scott McNulty rated it liked it
Jun 11, 2012
Neil rated it really liked it
Nov 11, 2010
Thomas Stone
Thomas Stone rated it it was amazing
Mar 30, 2013
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Ben Bova was born on November 8, 1932 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1953, while attending Temple University, he married Rosa Cucinotta, they had a son and a daughter. He would later divorce Rosa in 1974. In that same year he married Barbara Berson Rose.

Bova is an avid fencer and organized Avco Everett's fencing club. He is an environmentalist, but rejects Luddism.

Bova was a technical writer fo
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