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Tech Sense by John Bell August 2022: Finding Ebooks


Finding eBooks

This month I am on vacation as I write the column. As a result, I will be revisiting a topic I last touched on in 2019 to help find free eBooks to read while on vacation. eBooks are books that are stored as electronic files and are read using and EReader or software designed to read eBook files. EReaders include devices like Amazon’s Kindle Reader or the Barnes and Noble’s Nook and software like Calibre.


Project Gutenberg

One great source for free eBooks is Project Gutenberg. 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 60,000 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 and 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 the books are free.

Several 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. This year the copyrights for the Winnie the Pooh books by A. A. Milne expired making it possible to publish these as free eBooks.

In general books published after 1927 (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.


The Library

eBooks can also be borrowed from our public library. The OverDrive service allows books to be borrowed and used on both Kindle and Nook eReaders. The books can also be read on your personal computer, table, and telephone.

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. Our local library offers almost 30,000 books through OverDrive.


Shopping and Borrowing

Of course, it is always possible to purchase books through Amazon for the Kindle or via 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 their catalog for Amazon Prime members and offers over a million books through Kindle unlimited.

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.


Next Month

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.

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