In a move that seems straight from the pages of science fiction, three companies are set to unveil electronic books this fall. Each promises to hold hundreds of volumes of searchable text in a portable shell weighing only a few pounds--and at least one of the companies has set its sights on K-12 education as a prime market.

NuvoMedia Inc., based in Palo Alto, Calif., this fall will launch the RocketBook, a 20-ounce device about the size of a paperback novel, complete with a stylus for highlighting and annotating text. Also this fall, SoftBook Press

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