Bob Stein has been engaged with electronic publishing full-time since 1980, when he spent a year researching and writing a paper for Encyclopedia Britannica – “EB and the Intellectual Tools of the Future.” In 1984 he founded The Criterion Collection, a critically acclaimed series of definitive films, which included the first supplementary sections and director commentaries and introduced the letterbox format. He also founded The Voyager Company, which in 1989 published one of the first commercial CD-ROMs, The CD Companion to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. In 1992 Voyager published the first electronic books, including Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park.
In 2004 Stein received a MacArthur Foundation grant to found The Institute for the Future of the Book, a think-and-do tank aimed at exploring and influencing the evolution of new forms of intellectual expression. In 2005 the Institute published the first “networked books,” which were instrumental in the recognition of the important shift to social reading and writing as discourse moves from printed pages to networked screens. In late 2010 Stein founded a new company, SocialBook, Inc. with the ambitious goal of building the first viable post-print publishing platform.