The book that Philips/Sony put out with the format's specifications originally had a red cover.
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Hmmmm..... "One of those things, is not like the others, one of those things, just doesn't belong" : )
Onhwy61's comments are the commonly accepted story behind that. Since every design has to have reference specifications, CD's became known as "redbook" for the color of the original spec manual.
Bluenose's comments are kind of interesting. My partner at work and i were discussing this recently and stopped by Best Buy to do some research. As it turns out, many newer discs do NOT say "compact disc" on them. Instead, they say something like "improved CD", etc... Those are discs that do not conform to Philip's "redbook" standards due to manipulation of the format i.e. "watermarking", encryption, etc... Philip's said that they will be suing manufacturers that try to release "copy protected" compact discs that do not conform to their standards and try to label them as "compact discs". Hence the adoption of "cd" in the format to keep it familiar but then they lie to you and try to say that it is "better" or "enhanced".
As to Kelly's comments, part of that might be right, but i'm not sure if it is the first section, middle part or last part ??? Sean