Change management

The First Online Credit Card Transaction for Digital Content: OBS in 1993

We were surprised to see in the Express Tribune/International New York Times recently that some folks, like Shopify, think that the first ecommerce transaction on the internet happened in 1994. We at OBS need to correct the record, and note that Open Book Systems (which was Online BookStore back then) actually sold the first online trade book content over the Internet. In the Fall of 1993, we sold a Stephen King short story, “Umney’s Last Case,” as an ASCII download, and have artifacts such as the signed contract, royalty report, as well as articles in Publishers Weekly, the Wall Street Journal and Fortune to confirm our pioneering work—in addition to a Wikipedia post (not made by OBS) which notes that “Prior to the story’s original appearance in the Nightmares & Dreamscapes collection, Viking Press made the text available online three weeks prior to the book’s publication in September 1993 via OBS (The Online Bookstore) for $5.” I remember the adrenaline.


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