Free books!

30Dec10

Hey, hey, d’you like the snazzy red leather cover I got for the Kindle for Christmas? It’s all, like, red, and leathery and has a clever arrangement of red leathery bits that mean you can prop it up and stuff.

I’ve had the actual Kindle for a couple of months now and I rather like it. For anyone contemplating such a purchase, here are some Kindle FAQs.

You can’t read it in the bath, can you?

Of course you can. Just make sure you don’t get it wet.

It’s not as easy on the eye as reading paper, though, is it?

Yes it is. With the added advantage that if your eyes are in a state of advanced decrepitude you can press a couple of buttons to embiggen the words. Or, if you tire of pressing the little button to turn the page, you can ensmallen them too, so you get more words per screen.

Yeah, but books are nice. I love books, me. Electronic devices will never replace books, will they?

Everyone should love books. People who do not love books lead dreary, pointless and debased lives. People who do not love books are already dead.

But let’s not confuse the love of books with the love of bound paper pages. Electronic books may indeed replace the paper ones. There are many issues we can talk about here, but books themselves are the products of a technology which was once new, disruptive and, in some people’s eyes, threatening.

An iPad is better, isn’t it? I mean, it’s in colour and everything. And you can do lots more on an iPad. Plus it’s got an “i” in front of its name, so it’ll be much cooler, right?

A Kindle does not do all of the things an iPad does, but it costs considerably less and is a machine expressly designed for reading books on. You can also use the internet on it for, say, looking stuff up, but this is fiddly and I don’t recommend it. You can also use play MP3s on it while you read. If that’s your kink, well go right ahead.

It’s true that anything  with a lower-case “i” in front of its name is inherently cool and fashionable. Many individuals (who are to be pitied) will gladly pay over the odds for things that are normally judged workaday and dull if there’s an “i” in front, for example iPickled iOnions or Apple iWipe toilet paper.

Buying a Kindle feels a lot like buying a Gillette razor. You then have to buy your blades from them. Books, I mean. And I don’t like this big corporation seeing what I’m doing all the time.

So keep the wireless turned off. Personally I love Amazon. I think their customer service is superb. Streets ahead of most other firms I have to deal with.

I don’t fancy buying books to download. If I pay money for a book I’d rather have something tangible.

With you on that one. Which brings me to the main reason for getting a Kindle at all. FREE BOOKS!!!!

I’ll say this again. FREE BOOKS!!!!

And qualify it LEGAL AND FREE BOOKS!!

See, there are millions of out-of-copyright books out there, some of which you will want to read sooner or later.

Now for your literary classics, well they have ’em down the library, or you can get them in bookshops easily enuff, and quite cheaply. But on the web they are free. There are loads of sites you can go to for them, but the best known will be Project Gutenberg and the absolutely awesome Internet Archive (which also has loads of free music and video and stuff).

Here are literary classics you’ve heard of, and many you’ve not heard of. Here are rare and out-of-print things which you’re never going to find anywhere else.

FWIW I bought a Kindle because I wanted to read a load of old out-of-print books about Bristol’s history. They have them down the library, but only in the reference section, and not for borrowing. Now I have them all on this handy device. After years of referring to the peerless John Latimer and his Annals of Bristol in PDF form online, I have just finished reading a volume from end to end, and it has been a huge pleasure. So thank you Amazon Kindle, but no, I’ll not be buying any e-books anytime soon if it’s all the same to you because there’s a whole lot of other stuff I have to get through first.

(I read somewhere that ‘Called Back’ by Victorian Bristol author Hugh Conway is a work of genius. Just downloaded this. Will let you know when I get round to it … )

Any other news?

Yes! Don’t diss the libraries. The very wonderful Libraries West have a snazzy new website from which you can download audiobooks. If you have a library card for round these parts, these are also free, but self-destruct after three weeks.

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2 Responses to “Free books!”

  1. Love those free out-of-copyright books!


  1. 1 Free books! « Eugene Byrne » Free Online Books to Read

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