In 1986, Microsoft was granted a US patent for a clear box that would function as a holder and reading stand for books and magazines.
In 1985, a group of individuals from Microsoft designed a case that would act as both a holder and reading stand for books and magazines. The inventors included David Strong, Patricia McGinnis, James Peterson, Vern Raburn, Horothy Hall, David Fleck, and Steven Ballmer. (Yes, that Steven Ballmer.)
The patent describes the devices as "a holder for books and similar items that may be used to both store the books and support them in open position at a fixed angle, even if the books are substantially shorter and narrower than the holder." You can see all eight drawings from the US patent for Microsoft's Holder For Storing And Supporting Articles in this gallery.