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Computer Literacy Bookstore: Wikis


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The first Computer Literacy Bookshop was opened in March 1983[1][2] on Lawrence Expressway between Lakeside Drive and Titan Way in Sunnyvale, California, by founders Dan Doernberg and Rachel Unkefer. It was located in the heart of Silicon Valley, not far from where the original Fry's Electronics store opened two years later. In 1987 the company opened two additional stores: one on North First Street in San Jose[3] and another in the TechMart complex near Great America in Santa Clara. The TechMart store subsequently relocated to the headquarters of Apple Computer, Inc. at One Infinite Loop in Cupertino. In 1993, the only East Coast location was opened in the Tysons Corner area of suburban Washington, DC to make a total of four bricks-and-mortar locations. On August 25, 1991, the company registered the domain name and began taking book orders from customers worldwide via email.

Acquisition by CBooks Express

In 1995, Chris McAskill and Kim Orumchian started an online bookstore called CBooks Express, specializing in computer-related books. The domain for CBooks Express was Computer Literacy Bookstores moved to sue CBooks Express for trademark infringement, instead the young company acquired Computer Literacy Bookshops in 1997[4]. The combined company became and it went public in 1998.


Soon after going public the company was renamed[5] (NASDAQ FATB) after a six-month process to come up with a new name. Company executives worked with branding specialists Interbrand Group; but eventually a name suggested by the company's editorial director, Deborah Bohn, was chosen. Along with the new name, a new logo and slogan were introduced.

eMatter and MightyWords

In the summer of 1999 Fatbrain started selling electronic documents under the eMatter brand. This was eventually spun off as a new company called MightyWords.

Acquisition by Barnes & Noble was acquired and absorbed by Barnes & Noble, the large bookstore chain in .[6] The physical stores were finally closed in December 1, 2001.


  1. ^ Susan Meyers, "People in the News: Dan Doernberg & Rachel Unkefer," PC Magazine, July 10, 1984.
  2. ^ Kathy Kincade, "The Making of a Computer Bookstore," Computer Language Magazine, September 1987.
  3. ^ Nancy Marx Better, "Their Equation for Success Is, Well, Technical,"San Jose Mercury News October 26, 1987.
  4. ^ Dale Buss, "Internet World Interview," Internet World Magazine, May 15, 2000
  5. ^ Author Unknown, "The Name Game At $7.50 a Share," The New York Times March 30, 1999.
  6. ^ Silicon Valley Dispatches Column," San Jose Mercury News September 16, 2000. Article about Barnes & Noble Acquisition.

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