|Lord Kelvin, the most respected physicist of his day "knew" the telephone was a fraud, because the Laws of Physics made it impossible to transmit the human voice over a wire. Indeed, he had no need to examine the instrument at all to be sure Bell was a charlatan.|
|Samuel Langley, head of the Smithsonian Institute at the start of the 20th Century, was certain that manned flight in powered, heavier-than-air machines was "impossible," as his own failed attempts had shown. A few days later, however, the Wright Brothers flew at Kittyhawke.|
|"Everything that can be invented has been invented." - Charles H. Duell, commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899.|
|"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" - David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.|
|I'd certainly never read one. The only thing they're good for are doorstops." Alfred Hitchcock about paperback books.|
|"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." - Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.|
|"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." - Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949.|
|"I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year." - The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957.|
|"But what...is it good for?" - Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.|
|"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." - Ken Olson, president, chairman, and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.|
|"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - Bill Gates, 1981.|
|"$100 million dollars is way too much to pay for Microsoft." - IBM, 1982.|
There is a vigorous new growth in the world: writers, publishers, retailers and reviewers of electronic books. I am proud to be a member of this seed for future change.
Many of us are discouraged by the comments of supposed experts, predicting the languishing and even demise of the e-book. People seriously say that no-one could possibly want to miss the smell of a book, the feel of it...
This collection of wise prognistications by past experts, about other advances in technology, should put such opinions in context.
I would like to add to this list. If you know of any other statements of this kind, please email them to me. As payment, I will send you an entertaining short story, free of charge. In electronic format of course.
If you want to read a more serious article about e-publishing, read 'The phenomenon known as e-books' by Christina Hamlett. This article appeared in Gotta Write magazine.
But while you're here, read the transcript of a speech I gave on the topic.
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