Help! My E-Reader is Empty!
I’m totally in love with my e-reader. I no longer have to battle with bulky books escaping my clutches in bed, or packing a book bag that is larger than my suitcase for a short trip away. But when you’ve got a device that can store thousands of titles, it can be challenging to fill up that space.
Here are three free (and legal) places that I often go to when I want to download an e-book. ‘Free’ in this context means I don’t have to purchase the e-book with my own money. However, the resources are funded in order to make e-books available. ‘Legal’ means that the texts available are offered legitimately (that is, they are not pirated versions).
I love, love, love this resource. eBooks@Adelaide is a large collection of digitised books, hosted by the University of Adelaide. The titles in this collection are in the public domain. In Australia, this means that copyright on that title has expired (which happens 70 years after the end of the year of the author’s death).
The selection is wide and varied, and you can search by author, title and subject area. Each title is available is a number of formats, including epub (suiting many e-readers, including tablets) and mobi (the Kindle format).
According to the editor, Steve Thomas: ‘Selection of titles is loosely based on what are described as “the Great Books”, but includes all manner of things that took the Editor’s fancy.’ And this booklover would like to thank Steve, as his taste runs to both the Canon and the eclectic!
I would recommend: If you’ve been captivated by the movie version of Les Misérables, perhaps you might like to check out an English translation of the Victor Hugo novel it was based on. Perhaps you are in the mood for a dashing romantic saga that encompasses both the American Civil War and Reconstruction that features a GLS (’Great Love Story’. And by ‘great’, I don’t necessarily mean ‘Happy Ending Guaranteed’…) One with a heroine so strong that nothing – neither war nor love – can destroy her? Then you might like Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind.
Project Gutenberg (PG) was the first, and remains the largest, collection of free e-books. It can be found here, with a special Australian portal here. Again, these titles have passed into the public domain.
Although the PG range is greater than that at eBooks@Adelaide, the PG site is a little harder to navigate. The files are often in ‘text’ or ‘html’ format, which means that while you can read them on your e-reader, there may be more formatting issues than you are used to. For me, however, the breadth and range of the available titles far outweighs any of these difficulties.
I would recommend: If Fifty Shades of Grey sizzled up your synapses, then Lady Chatterley’s Lover is positively guaranteed to melt your e-reader…
Your local library
Libraries are increasingly offering access to e-resources. My local library offers e-books through a service called Overdrive. Other services are available at other libraries. Note: you need to be a member of a library that subscribes to a service like Overdrive in order to use it.
These collections differ from the ones I’ve discussed above in a few ways:
1. You are borrowing the e-book, and you are not able to keep it. (Nor can you share it with other people.) The e-book will self-delete itself from your device at the end your borrowing period.
2. The e-books will be protected with DRM (digital rights management).
3. The titles are not limited to what is in the public domain. Overdrive has entered into commercial arrangements with publishers in order to make these books available to you.
4. Because of (3), recently published titles are available to you. Including recent releases! And from my perspective, this makes Overdrive a sensational service.
So that’s a quick tour around some of my favourite e-reader resources. What are you currently reading on your e-reader? Do you have any resources you’d like to share?
About Our Reading Space Contributor
Carolyn Leslie is an IPEd-accredited editor, a writer, an award-winning book reviewer and a business chick, as well as Mama to two little boys. Carolyn loves books, blogs, op shops, gardening, mucking around in the kitchen and dancing crazily with her kids (and sometimes even with her husband). She dreams of someday having a quiet and (totally) uninterrupted read…
You can follow her on twitter @carolynleslie. Or if email is your thing, drop her a line sometime at firstname.lastname@example.org.