Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

It’s Read an Ebook Week!

According to the sponsors of “Read an Ebook Week, the ebook is celebrating its 40th birthday.

In 1971 Michael Hart was handed a real boon – $100,000.00 worth of computer time with a Xerox Sigma V mainframe computer. He decided that the greatest value created by computers would not be computing, but would be the storage, retrieval, and searching of what was stored in our libraries. The first “e-book” was born—a copy of the Declaration of Independence.

Hard to believe that ebooks have been around for 40 years! It seems like they’ve only just come into vogue.

Although I believe they won’t take the place of a paper book anytime soon, I find that I like ebooks for a lot of reasons: I can carry a lot more books around on my device than I can tote manually, I can buy them anytime of day — in my jammies, no less, and I can search for text within the book (which is only one really kewl features of digitized text, there are hundreds more…).

If you haven’t tested the waters, it might be time to dip your toe in. You don’t have to have a dedicated ebook reader to read ebooks. Kindle, Nook and others have a free desktop software so you can read on your computer.

Don’t be worried about cost. Many ebooks can be purchased for less the the cost of a cup of coffee, and thousands more are available for free.

For starters, you might try Smashwords.com where many authors have made their books free, or put them on sale, for the duration of this week. (You can sort by cost, and the site includes a quick-click button to sort by free items.)

If you want totally free access to books, try Project Gutenberg at Gutenberg.org.

(I personally like Project Gutenberg’s Fantasy bookshelf. It includes the Oz books by Frank L. Baum, Lord Dunsany’s writings and Howard Pyle. The Science Fiction bookshelf includes many copies of Astounding magazine, and books by Poul Anderson, James Blish, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Edgar Rice Burroughs and more.)

If you know the book you’re interested in, you might try searching the publisher’s Web site. Publisher’s often have discounts that aren’t advertised on the large commercial bookseller sites.

If you have a favorite site for ebooks, please list it in the comments.

2 comments to It’s Read an Ebook Week!

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