Thursday, March 10, 2011

Totally Random Thursdays – Read an Ebook Week

"Some call it idle chatter but I like to refer to it as totally random......."

March 6th – 12th is read an e-book week and here at Bookventures, I am commemorating the occasion with a little celebration of my own. How many of us really know the history of e-books. I certainly did not and as I did my research for this post, I found myself both amazed and proud of human ingenuity. Our ability to create something that can impact our lives is unprecedented and there is no telling of what we can accomplish.

I promise that this post will not be a history lesson but rather FYI (because you guys are some of the smartest peeps I know).

It all started in 1971 with the Gutenberg Project. One guy, Michael Hart and his desire to utilize new technology to store and retrieve information led to the creation of the first of many e-books; a copy of the Declaration of Independence.  Since then E-books or electronic books have become a major part of the reading diet for people around the world.  Their popularity is propelled by the emergence of e-readers such the Kindle, Kobo and now the Ipad. E-books can be found in basically any format and all genres.  Not to be mistaken for its cousin (and admittedly a strong rival) the audio book, the e-book is a great tool to encourage people to read. It can be translated into several different languages which has the potential to reach more audiences around the world. Due to their portability, they are widely accessible and can be also downloaded for free or at a small fee and . Though the audio book has one up on the e-book (the audio format makes it even more portable than the e-book), the e-book remains as the bench mark for advances in data storage and by extension reading.

Since becoming a book blogger, I have managed to stumble on several e-book sites (both paid and free) that have since become some of my favourite places on the internet. These include:  Smashwords is an ebook publishing and distribution website for authors, publishers and publicists. You mostly find a lot of independently published short stories as well as novels which are either free to download or comes at a small fee. Almost all formats are supported by smashwords. I actually stumbled onto this website as a result of my research for this post. It is largely a retail and distribution outlet for some of the latest releases in digital format.  Based on a quick analysis, the prices seem to be on the cheaper side. is supported by many formats including PDF.

Project Gutenberg:  The cornerstone of e-books boasts of a library of over 33, 000 free e-books in several genres.  Many of the fictional works are actually classical in nature which makes Project Gutenberg one of the best places to download classic literature.  Formats supported include Kindle, Ipad, Sony Reader or your PC.

Netgalley: It’s a staple for many book bloggers like myself. Netgalley offers advance reader copies in the format of galleys (unedited proofs of a book intended for authors, publishers and reviewers). Galleys can also come in completed formats but may only be available for viewing on your reader between 30-60 days.  There are a lot of formats supported by Net galley and once your request to download a specific book is approved, you are welcomed to do so. Net Galley is one of the best places to read books that are newly released or have yet to be published for free.

These sites are just a sprinkle of the e-book websites on the internet. I hope that the mere mention of just a few of these encourages you to check them out and, if only for this week, to read an e-book.

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