Google bought ETI!

Google just bought Ebook Technologies Inc. Now that was a smooth move.

This is a quiet little company that had been involved in ebooks since before the industry existed. I’m not kidding either. Garth Conboy, President and co-founder of ETI, used to run the Gemstar eBook Group (before Gemstar went bankrupt). He was even part of Nuvomedia back before Gemstar bought it.  Basically Google just got themselves a Wright brother and his team (who is also a serial entrepreneur).  Garth is also the former current head of the IDPF (the digital publishing trade group), which should give you an idea about his pull in the industry.

As for ETI, I have to confess that I haven’t been keeping up on them. They haven’t done any flashy public projects for a few years now. The last consumer product that I recall them working on was developing the firmware for the Ebookwise 1150. This was a several years old refurbished ereader with a HVGA touchscreen, 90MHz CPU, and 8MB RAM.  ETI developed both the firmware and the file format for the ereader. They even managed to give it pen based annotation and a basic web browser. It was a pretty decent device at the time (2006).

ETI have also been active in developing the various ebook standards as set by the IDPF.

I would bet that ETI have done at least some of the development work for the Google Ebookstore. But I’m still waiting to hear back from Garth, so i don’t know.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Keith Fahlgren13 January, 2011

    Garth has had a very long relationship with the IDPF since it’s inception, but he’s now “just” a Board member and co-chair of the EPUB Revision Working Group. George Kerscher is head of the Board and Bill McCoy is the new Executive Directory.

    1. Nate the great13 January, 2011

      Oh, Garth isn’t the head anymore? Thanks for catching that.

      1. Keith Fahlgren13 January, 2011

        Ha, I’m slightly wrong also, Garth *is* Chairman, George is President. Your overall point is still valid–I think it’s nice to see Google having people on staff that are actively involved in the IDPF & trust that they’ll continue to support their involvement.

  2. igorsk13 January, 2011

    I wonder if Google wants to make a reader device. I remember reading somewhere that ETI was working on an E-Ink device with Rocket Book-style ergonomics.

  3. […] would have taken very little for Google to have the ebook people it acqui-hired with ETI in 2011 to work with Netronix and produce an ereader that was tied to Google Play […]


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