Friday, August 10, 2012

Finding ebooks to read

Are you one of the many folks with a Kindle? or Nook? or an iPad? The demand for ebooks has grown in the last 18 months--grown faster than we can keep up!

If you use our Overdrive-powered service for ebooks, Southwest Virginia Public Libraries, you should find new books there every month. And if you are just getting started with that service, here's my recommendation. Browse the books that are currently available; that way you don't go through the whole exercise of trying to learn how to check out and download a book, just to find out it isn't currently available.

And to diversify your 'ereading' options, here are two sources of FREE ebooks. One is the NOOK Blog, one of Barnes and Nobles 'bookclubs.' Every Friday, they have a free ebook available for download. The genre of book varies, from romance to science fiction, but hey, it's FREE!

Scan for Project Gutenberg 
The other source for free ebooks is Project Gutenberg . Project Gutenberg is typically old books that are no longer protected by U.S. copyright law. So it is a great source for classics, Austen to Kafka to Washington (as in George and Booker T.) and Wells (as in H.G.) You can find books in other languages, as well as some recorded books and printed music. If you are older (um, let's say, at least retirement age), you may find that some of your childhood classics are now available--those books that were older when you were very the Swiss Family Robinson. It is also a great source for older scientific and religious treatises.

If you are asking what's an ebook, here's the answer. An ebook is a book that you read on a screen--it's still print and it looks like it's on a page, but you view it on the screen of a digital device. The digital device can be an ereader (Kindle or Nook, for example), a tablet computer (an iPad or other computer that looks like it's just a small, flat screen), or even a smart phone. I'm not kidding, some folks have reported reading books on their phone. And if you think about it, the average phone isn't that much smaller than a paperback book.

How we read has evolved, from handwritten or printed by candle light, to printed pages under electric lights, to print on an 'electrified' page. But we still read. And we are still enriched by the experience.