The first mention of a Kindle in 1961?

I came across this the other day*. Written in 1961. What do you think? Is the “opton” the first mention in literature of an electronic book? And is this what our brave new bookshops will really look like?

[…] I spent the afternoon in a bookstore. There were no books in it. None had been printed for nearly half a century. And how I have looked forward to them, after the micro films that made up the library of the Prometheus! No such luck. No longer was it possible to browse among shelves, to weigh volumes in hand, to feel their heft, the promise of ponderous reading. The bookstore resembled, instead, an electronic laboratory. The books were crystals with recorded contents. They can be read the aid of an opton, which was similar to a book but had only one page between the covers. At a touch, successive pages of the text appeared on it. But optons were little used, the sales-robot told me. The public preferred lectons – like lectons read out loud, they could be set to any voice, tempo, and modulation. Only scientific publications having a very limited distribution were still printed, on a plastic imitation paper. Thus all my purchases fitted into one pocket, though there must have been almost three hundred titles. My handful of crystal corn – my books […]

from Return from the Stars, by Stanislaw Lem, 1961

*Many Thanks to Lukasz Bejnar. I foiund this extract in his essay called ….

Market of (Un)Limited Possibilities and Building e-book Collection in an Academic Library (a Case Study)

Wrocław University of Technology – Main Library, Poland

INFORUM 2011: 17th Conference on Professional Information Resources Prague, May 24-26, 2011

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