The best places for DRM-free e-books – part 1 of 2

As found on Teleread:

By Joanna Cabot

Project GutenbergI love DRM-free books! I know that for most people, DRM is an issue they might not think about often; if their books work, they’re happy. But for many more experienced e-book users, it’s an issue to care about.

If you acquire 100 Amazon e-books and then you buy a Kobo, how are you going to read those books? If you spend years as a loyal Sony customer and then buy a Kindle, what will you do with the books you’ve bought and loved? Unless you are blessed with some technical skills—and either a country whose laws permit format-shifting, or a moral compass that doesn’t care as much about the letter of the law—you’re stuck.

Unless, that is, you buy and read books that are DRM-free. These books can be kept forever, converted using free software such as Calibre, and read on any device you might own. But where to get them? Here are some of my favorite sources:

1. PROJECT GUTENBERG

This is the oldest e-book repository on the Web. It has over 40,000 free books, with more available through affiliates like Project Gutenberg Canada and Project Gutenberg Australia. These books are all public domain titles, but you would be shocked at what’s in the public domain these days. It’s not just Shakespeare and the Bible anymore—there arepulp sci-fi and mystery titles from the Golden Age, early issues of Scientific American andAstounding Stories, cookbooks, children’s classics (including books for very young readers, such as the complete works of Beatrix Potter) and more. Many are illustrated. Some have audio book versions. Most of the newer ones were prepared through Gutenberg’s Distributed Proofreaders program to ensure they are error-free. New books are added very frequently

Browsing can be a bit of a chore—some of the books are sorted into topical bookshelves, others are not. But if you know what you’re looking for, or stick to the ‘new release’ or ‘most-downloaded’ RSS feeds, you’re sure to find something good. And the scope of this project—their goal is to have every public domain book ever published—is incredible. This is truly an unparalleled resource, and one of the great gifts the Internet has given us.

Here are five books to get you started; I suggest downloading the HTML, as it seems to convert the cleanest.

Harvard Classics♦ The Harvard Classics: The vast majority of the works in Dr. Eliot’s famous ‘five-foot shelf,’ a collection designed to give a reader a complete classical education with only the books which might fit in a single shelf.

♦ The Best Short Stories: A collection of themed short story collections such as ‘The Best American Humorous Short Stories’ and ‘The Best Russian Shirt Stories,’ sorted by country or origin.

♦ The Golden Treasury, edited by Francis Turner Palgrave: One of the best poetry anthologies ever published. The poetry bookshelf has some other good ones listed.

♦ Legends of the Jews by Louis Ginzberg: This series draws together Jewish myth and folklore from a variety of sources, similar to how the Brothers Grimm synthesized fairy tales from multiple sources.

♦ Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte: My all-time favorite novel. A gothic story of the forbidden love between the beautiful Catherine and the mysterious Heathcliff.

2. DELPHI CLASSICS 

Interested in reading the great classics but don’t want to take the time to download two dozen Dickens books, or seek out individual volumes of Sherlock Holmes stories? Do you want to read Andrew Lang’s popular Fairy Books as they first appeared with complete illustrations? Do you want to learn more about the great artists or poets, but don’t know where to start? Delphi Classics is for you!

This store is known for their lavishly illustrated complete works collections (complete works of Dickens, complete works of Austen, and so on) but lately has branched out into two new series: Masters of Art and Masters of Poetry, which, as their titles imply, present the complete works of artists and poets. These books are very well-done, withDelphi Classics D.H. Lawrence numerous illustrations, biographical information and other goodies it would take a long time to track down on your own. They’re also updated frequently—with corrections as well, with new works, as they become available.

If you buy from Delphi’s website as opposed to the Amazon store, you can download the free updates at any time from your account. Two drawbacks:

a. Some of the files are very large, which may slow down a less robust reader.

b. Also, you have to pay separately for the .mobi and .epub versions. I tried converting a mobi version using Calibre and after 30 minutes of trying, Calibre crashed. I don’t relish paying again for an epub if I move to a Kobo Reader down the road, and I think Delphi Classics should amalgamate their editions and let their customers download a purchased title in whatever format they choose.

My five favorites:

♦ Delphi Poets: Emily Dickinson ($1.99) – Dickinson’s complete works, with bonus biographical material including Dickinson’s letters, as well as photographs and illustrations.

♦ Dickens eVolume Collection ($3.99) – The complete works of Dickens, plus biographical materials and extras, in a zipped file of 20 volumes.

♦ The Brontes – Complete Works ($2.99): The complete vollected works of all the Brontes, including their childhood writing and work by their lesser-known artist brother. Illustrated with photographs and reproductions and all the usual bonus features.

♦ Andrew Lang- Complete Works ($2.99): The complete fairy tales books, in order, plus his other short story collections, poetry, other writing and so on. As usual, illustrated with all the usual bonus features.

♦ Masters of Art – Leonardo da Vinci ($2.99): Da Vinci’s paintings in full colour, zoom-able, with bonus details. I reviewed this unique series for TeleRead earlier this year.

Kobo tutorial on e-books

Dear reader,

In case you are still hesitant about e-books, let me introduce you to a short video about these things, and the machinery one needs to read those. This video is created by Kobobooks, but of course the same goes for a Sony e-reader, a Kindle or a B&N Nook.

Kobotorial: What is an eReader and why should I get one?

APG Indie promotion – Black Ice

Dear reader,

It is Monday again, so I present to you: today’s Indie Promotion:

Black Ice


by Alexandria Publishing Group author Linda Hall

Ebook Short DescriptionThey said she came in with the ice…

Lenore Featherjohn found the girl, frozen against a snow bank behind Lenore’s bed-and-breakfast. Some said she was a ghost, others said an angel.

Lenore knows better. Fearing that the police might look to her sons as murderers, she hires Jake Rikker and his crusty business partner, May, to investigate the suspicious circumstances surrounding her undesirable discovery. Their search leads them not to the strange girl–or to Earth’s final days, as many in the town suspect–but to Amy McLaren, the wife of a local minister. As Jake and May get closer to the truth, the tension between Lenore and Amy rises, forcing each woman to face the secrets they’ve hidden far too long.

 

Where to find: this e-book is available from Amazon.com.

 

B&N Announces First Author to Sell a Million eBooks via PubIt

from The Digital Reader by Nate Hoffelder

Remember how Amazon used to make a big deal about the Kindle Millions Club, a group of self-published authors who have each sold more than a million Kindle ebooks? They have not announced any in a while (I guess the novelty wore off), but the idea must still seem fresh and new to B&N.

Barnes & Noble sent out a press release today touting Barbara Freethy as being the first self-published author to sell a million copies of her ebooks via PubIt. Freethy is the author of 31 novels, including the 17 titles from her backlist as well as 3 new works which she has uploaded to sell in the B&N Nook ebookstore.

According to her blog, this milestone comes a few short months after a similar one in the Kindle Store, making this author the first to proclaim achieving the one million mark in both major ebookstores.

Note, though, that Amazon hasn’t announced her induction into the Kindle Millions Club. I guess Amazon lost interest after the first score of authors.

Still, congratulations are in order. Barbara has achieved a goal that many other authors would trade their souls for. Well Done!

B&N Announces First Author to Sell a Million eBooks via PubIt is post from The Digital Reader

Indie Promotion – A Blanket of Blues

Dear reader,

What better Monday than a Monday that brings you an Indie Promotion! This week:

A Blanket of Blues


by Padraig Hanratty

Ebook Short Description: Everybody gets the blues sometimes. Fingers Flaherty had them all the time. He lived the blues and sang about his every ache.
Flaherty’s blues gave him nothing but hardship, sore feet and a shattered heart. Every one of his songs told a fraught story. His characters walked many a dark path and twisted lane on their troubled journeys.
And now they get to share their tales, wrapped in dark humour and a blanket of blues.
A collection of short stories inspired by Flaherty’s songs, A BLANKET OF BLUES presents its varied cast at turning points in their lives. Some yearn for change, whereas others seek self-improvement. And others want nothing more than a little peace of mind, even for just a few hours. Each character struggles through the daily conflicts and irritations of his or her life, fighting back with proud confidence, caustic wit, mule-headed defiance and a dash of reckless optimism.
Each story raises its own questions. How can Moses make a connection with any woman when they all think he’s an alien microbe? Why is Brendan Behan laughing at a hapless father as he makes his way to the nightclub to find his hooligan son? Will God listen to a hypocrite’s prayer and welcome a bitter troll into heaven? What ghosts haunt Mad Mick on his midnight rambles? Is it safe to borrow money from Harry the Hobbit during a recession? Why does Sophia want to insert her beret-clad boyfriend into a guillotine? Can Chai make peace with the dead mother, who only adopted him because there were no rabbits left in the pet shop? And can any of these characters find the positive mental attitude to beat their Irish blues?
Fingers Flaherty drank his blues from the same moonlit stream as every blues singer from Robert Johnson to Bob Dylan. He felt the loneliness of many sleepless nights, the pain of long, hard-travelled days. Hiding behind countless masks, he tried to find himself – in a country that had long ago lost its way. He sang of love and jealousy, sex and betrayal, the bitterness of disappointment and the resilience of hope. In other words, he sang of life, with all its light and all its shadows. Indeed, the shadows were his home.
As Flaherty strums those dark chords on his battered guitar, let his edgy lyrics take you on a journey through Dublin’s back lanes and bright streets, its dingy pubs and affluent apartments, its sweaty clubs and freezing hallways. A city where there’s music in every argument. Where every stranger wants to tell you a tale. And where everybody sometimes loses their way. Even the most philosophical taxi drivers.
A city that Fingers Flaherty wrapped around himself. A city that became his blanket of blues.

Where to find.

You can find the e-book on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk where it is ready for download to your Kindle.

Scribbling is out!

Dear reader,

All the members of the Alexandria Publishing Group congratulate Jonathan Gould with his new book, Scribbling:

Scribbling is, as Jonathan calls it, ‘sort of’ a sequel to Doodling, with new adventures of the characters. For those who don’t know Doodling: it is a surreal and rather silly story about a man named Neville who, upon losing his grip on the ever-more-rapidly spinning Earth, falls off and winds up in an asteroid field.

All the fans of Doodling can now rejoice in new adventures and fresh quirkiness.

Scribbling is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Indie Promotion – The source of lightning

Dear reader,

Mondays in Autumn can be dreary, but there is always something to look forward to. Perhaps for you that is today’s Indie Promotion:

The source of lightning


by Alexandria Publishing Group author Donna K. Fitch

Ebook Short Description: Now disgraced, Richard
Davisson was once celebrated in newspapers and dime novels for his daring
exploits apprehending mail train robbers. Then, he was falsely accused of
collusion with the robber he couldn’t apprehend.

Now he’s trying to start over with a new name, an office job and marriage to
the boss’ daughter. However, there’s a
small matter of his lover – and her mistress. When his lover turns up dead –
burned to death by ‘means unknown’, Richard is the first suspect.

But when a train wreck throws him at the feet of airship inventor Kate Jordan –
one that is harnessing the aether itself to make her ship fly – will he stick
with his original plan for a quiet life? Or help thwart a scheme to steal
Kate’s airship, when the schemer is the one man he couldn’t bring to
justice–his own father?
 
A sizzling, breathless steampunk read from start to finish, The Source of Lightning is a “must read” for any science fiction, magic realism fan.

 

Where to find: this e-book is available from Amazon.com.
 

Scribbling – a new book by Jonathan Gould

Dear reader,

On October 25th, a new book will be published. This may not strike you as special, there will be more books out that day, but this one is the long awaited (sort of) sequel to “Doodling”.

The Alexandria Publishing Group is proud to announce Jonathan Gould’s new book “Scribbling”.

For the first two weeks after release, Scribbling will be available for the special bargain price of 99c. But that’s not all. As an extra special bonus, anyone who buys a copy in those two weeks will also get some previously unreleased “outtakes” from Doodling – a chance to meet some new characters, encounter some familiar ones in new ways, and get an insight into the way the story was developed.

We’ll let you know more, so stay tuned!

 

Stunning idea: digital library on the Bucharest subway station

As found on EbookFriendly.com:

The walls are being covered with large format posters, from top to bottom. Bucharest commuters who enter the station suddenly discover that they’re in an impressive library. The brightest idea comes here: you can use your smartphone to scan QR codes visible on the spines of the books – to actually start reading a book in no time.

Once you grab the code, you’ll be redirected to a mobile site powered by Humanitas. It’s a Vodafone Digital Library from where you can download free samples of 49 ebooks (epub or pdf format) and 10 audiobooks. The download is available to anyone, no matter the telecom provider they have.

One title is available for free download, the full version of Mateiu I. Caragiale’s Under the seal of mystery. If users would like to purchase any other title from Vodafone Digital Library in full version, they will be redirected to Humanitas website, where they proceed to check out.

Vodafone’s digital library on the Victoria subway station is a part of the new communication platform launched by Vodafone in May 2012.

Via Universign.

APG Indie Promotion – The Unraveling

Dear reader,

Welcome to yet another Monday. Let me show you today’s Indie Promotion to shake the weekend away from you:

The Unraveling

The Unraveling by Christopher Hunter
by Alexandria Publishing Group author Christopher Hunter
(first book in the series “The Days and Months We Were First Born“)

Ebook Short Description: In the summer of 2068, New Yorker Martin Jacob had a sweet life ahead of him. He had recently graduated from NYU. He spent most of his time with his artist girlfriend, who had a wonderful apartment in Harlem. And in September, he was to begin his career as a History teacher for a private school in Connecticut. An easy life was laid out before him. Then a man-made virus came along, and it turned his world upside down.

Martin wakes to find a disheveled President addressing the nation. His girlfriend is driven mad with grief, right before his very eyes. His parents call to inform him that they are going to die. And he steps outside to find Martial Law on the streets.

“The Days and Months We Were First Born- The Unraveling” is book one of Martin’s epic tale of survival. At times funny, at times heartbreaking, and at times action packed, this book will take the reader on an unforgettable journey.

Note: Adult-content rating. This book contains content considered unsuitable for young readers 17 and under, and which may be offensive to some readers of all ages.

 

Where to find: this e-book is available from Amazon.com and Smashwords.