Ebooks for fiction readers, a summary

8:44 pm Finding books

Lifehacker recently posted Ebooks: a beginners guide. It has a great summary of different sources, formats and uses of ebooks. It is certainly worth a read. I have started to look into using my first generation iPhone as an eReader, although it is a bit tricky, and digital books seem much more exciting, and their owners more excited.

Where to get Ebooks

Online sources for free Ebooks include Project Gutenberg, Manybooks.net (excellent site that was previously unknown to me and phenomenal amount of titles). The Kindle blog also has an extensive list of sites that carry eBooks.

There are a number of commercials sites for eBooks, many of which are listed in the Lifehacker article. Many popular bloggers have written books in eBook format and publishers are starting to release them of older books, so an active reader is certainly not restricted to paid content. That said, commercial books seem to run only slightly more expensive than second hand books, so they are much cheaper than new paper copies.

Ebook Readers

The web is awash with EBook reader discussion and debate. From the personal (non-objective) sites, I would guess it is because people absolutely love these devices, despite all faults. It seems that they function well as books, but not web-browsers, photo-viewers or anything else.

The comparisons seem to be between the Sony Digital Book Reader (aff.) (CNET review) and the Kindle (aff.) (CNET review). Kindle blog also weighs up the pros and cons of the Kindle. Dymocks has also started to stock the iRex iLiad (aff.) (review), which is pricey ($AU800), but has a few optional extras like notes writing. It should be noted that the Kindle can be used in Australia, but you have to manually load the books with a USB.

I haven’t had my hands on any of these devices, but I do know someone who has a Kindle and swears by it. This guy lives in the states and is a publisher by trade, so reads a lot in his spare time. He claims every downside you have heard about the Kindle disappears once you have been using it for a month or so, and he reads no paper books any more.

There are also document reading software for PDAs, and I expect there will be one on the iPhone when it comes out here soon. Manybooks.net also has a neat summary about how to read eBooks on your jailbroken iPhone. These programs can’t replace digital ink books, or eBook readers, as they are essentially a computer screen and much different than reading a printed page. However, they will fill those times when you are stuck in a queue or waiting room, and have forgotten your books. But is there also a chance Apple might make an eReader?

Other sources of Electronic Books

There are also other sources of electronic books. Read Print, Google book search and The Online Books Page carry online books. I don’t care for reading on my computer screen, but if they had books you wanted, you could compile the text into a text document. Saving the file as text through Firefox doesn’t work - the text ends up all jumbled. I suppose these readers may be able to reconcile that.

You can also get books sent to your inbox in portions by Daily Lit. I tried that, too, and wasn’t very good at it because when I check my email, I have a “working” hat on, and sitting still to read a chapter of a book always gets delayed.

What do I reckon?

I think that ebooks are the future. I will always enjoy sitting on my dreamed-of window seat with a paper book, but an eBook reader is what I will tuck in my bag to go out of the house. Furthermore, I will never again have the “ten book dilemma” when travelling. Hopefully, these devices will arrive in Aus soon. Internet purchasing really ensures that electronic devices can’t be kept away from any particular market. Unfortunately, we will miss out on Amazon stores and other big commercial ebook vendors, but luckily, there is heaps of free reading matter out there. While old MP3s may be undesirable, rights-free books are simply classics.

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