- John Bell
Tech Sense: Finding eBooks
Last month we discussed eBook files and eReaders. This month we will continue looking at eBooks and discuss finding them.
Project Gutenberg creates digital copies of books that are no longer under copyright. These books are in the public domain and may be freely copied by anyone. Project Gutenberg started in 1971 and is the oldest digital library with over 57,000 books including the known published works of Mark Twain, H.G. Wells, and Edgar Allen Poe. On average, 50 new books are added each week. Many classics are included like Treasure Island, Alice in Wonderland, the 28 volumes of the Oz series, Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Frankenstein, Dracula, Pride and Prejudice, Peter Pan, and the War of the Worlds. These books usually come in the EPUB or Kindle formats; often offering illustrated versions that can be read by many book readers. All of the books are free.
A number of published books that had their copyrights extended for 20 years have recently fallen out of copyright. As a result, I expect a lot of new material will be appearing in Project Gutenberg in the next few years. In general, books published after 1924 (95 years ago) are now in the public domain and free to copy.
Project Gutenberg is found at (https://www.gutenberg.org). Gutenberg books can be downloaded directly to your Kindle by pointing the Kindle browser to (m.gutenberg.org). EPUB files can be downloaded to other eReaders.
Our local library system provides several resources for borrowing eBooks. Overdrive is a resource that allows the borrowing of eBooks electronically. Overdrive works with the Kindle and Nook eReaders and apps with over 20,000 titles for each platform. Overdrive allows a book to be checked out for a limited period of time, just like the library.
To find Overdrive from the library website, select Digital Services from the main menu and then Online Resources. Scroll down the page looking for the Audio Books and eBooks section and select the Overdrive link.
While you are there, look at Comics Plus. Yes, I admit I am a comic book fan. Comics Plus doesn't have DC or Marvel comics, but it does have the Green Hornet, Red Sonya, Archie, Peanuts, and Hellboy to name just a few. You can checkout and read these comics with an app for your phone or tablet or through a browser. The comics are best read on a device that supports color.
Shopping and Borrowing
Of course it is always possible to purchase books through Amazon for the Kindle or Barnes and Noble for the Nook. EPUB format books can also be purchased from Google Play Books and other online stores. Amazon offers a library style offering to borrow books from its catalog for Amazon Prime members and offers even more books, over a million, through Kindle Unlimited. Kindle also has a means of loaning books that have been purchased with friends that have a Kindle.
The website Humble Bundle (https://www.humblebundle.com) sells game and eBook bundles online where the buyer gets to select the price to pay and a portion of the money goes to charity. The offerings are usually updated every two weeks and the selection varies from programming books, to self-help, travel, science fiction, comics, and educational topics. You can typically get 4 or 5 books for a dollar and 20 or more books for $15.
That's it for this month. I am looking for a beach to sit on and read my latest eBooks. Next month is our annual Back to School column. Summer goes by way too fast.