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SALMAN was excited for school because it was a “Show and Tell” day. He studied in Class Five and everyone in his class had to bring something to show to the class and speak about it. Salman was bringing his e-book reader, which his uncle gave him on his birthday recently.

“Alright Salman, now it’s your turn!” Miss Nazia asked Salman to come up and make his presentation. With excitement and confidence, Salman stood in front of his classmates. He then took out an elegant e-book reader in the shape of a notepad, out of the leather casing and held it up for the class to see. Instantly, all eyes were staring at the strange device.

Salman said, “This is an e-book reader. You can read books on this reader but unlike the books you see in print form, an e-book reader stores books in digital form.” Salman then clicked the button at the front and the screen illuminated. Everyone could see the cover page of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Salman’s teachers sensed excitement among the children.

Salman flicked the bottom right corner of the screen with his finger and the digital page flipped as if he was turning a real page. All students moved towards the edges of their seats.

“How is that possible?” one student asked and Miss Nazia was pleased to see that students were taking interest in this class activity.

“These e-books,” Salman continued “are formatted like any other book. However, instead of sending them to the printer to be printed on paper, they are saved in PDF format or in any other format that an e-book reader supports.” Salman paused and asked the class, “Do you know what a PDF is?”

Many students raised their arms and all of them were correct. PDF or portable document format is a file format that lets one save any document in readable form, which means you can read it but cannot edit it, as in the case of MS Word documents. Salman placed the e-book on the table and said, “Now who wants to know the history of an e-book?” Everyone raised their hands.

Salman said, “We think that an e-book is the invention of the 1990s or the 2000s. In fact, it was in 1949 that Angela Ruiz Robles created an e-book known as Mechanical Encyclopedia. However, it was in its primitive form but it did give inventors the base on which to build an advanced e-book in the 1990s.”

“The major step forward in e-book,” Salman continued as he moved towards the overhead projector of the class, “came in 1992 when Sony launched Data Discman.” Salman clicked the keyboard of the class’ overhead projector and a picture appeared on the canvas on the front wall. “This could read e-books that were stored in CDs. It was akin to a Walkman, but instead of listening to music, people could read books.” Salman then changed the slide and a familiar logo of Amazon appeared on the screen. “How many of you know about Amazon?” he asked. Again, many students knew about the website that sells everything from books to electronic appliances, but has become famous for selling books around the world. Salman showed the picture of Kindle and said, “This is Amazon Kindle, which is considered to be the world’s first e-book reader, specially designed for this purpose. It first came in the market in November 2007 and since then has sold millions of units.”

“Alright then,” Salman asked the class “How many of you know the benefits of an e-book?” One student said that an e-book is handy to carry as you can store multiple books in an e-reader. Another student said that you could read an e-book even at night because the e-reader’s screen is like a laptop’s screen. Miss Nazia was impressed that her students knew much about an e-book and an e-book reader. Salman then added, “Yes, these are the advantages. However, the latest models of Amazon Kindle have a built-in Wi-Fi which enables you to connect to the internet, watch movies and videos, play games and enjoy graphics on it.”

Salman then told the class that with the permission of Miss Nazia, eh would let those interested read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on this e-book reader during recess today. A sense of excitement rushed through the class as Salman ended his ‘show and tell’ activity.