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Free ebooks

Fabulously frightful freebies for the Festive Season
December 26, 2014 | 2:25 pm

Since the extremely talented Simon Strantzas has graced us with a very unsettling Christmas special, "Making Merry," I thought that this was a good time to pick up on a couple of modern classics of free festive fear. Or Gratis Gibbering Ghoulishness. That's modern, because free out-of-copyright chilling Christmas classics are more plentiful than Jacob Marley's chains. And there are those who maintain that this habit of mixing horror with your holly and terror with your turkey is very much a Brit thing, foreign to Americans - although that I doubt. So, for others who do want to shiver under...

Scotland’s winter wonderland showcased in stunning freebie
November 24, 2014 | 6:25 pm

A to Z of Winter ScotlandYes, this is a shameless puff on behalf of my beloved homeland - but it's also a chance to pick up a beautiful and useful travel guide for zero cash, and to enjoy some superb state-of-the-art digital destination marketing. For VisitScotland, Scotland's national tourism organization, has just shared "The A to Z of Winter in Scotland," a beautifully produced 76-page PDF guide to the best options in winter visiting to the land of Burns, Bruce, bairns, brains, and beauty - liberally sprinkled with hyperlinks to follow up the destination tips online (albeit mostly to its own site). Burns Night, on January...

Rockefeller University Press makes free ebooks available
October 28, 2014 | 4:25 pm

The Rockefeller University Press has announced an expanded program of free ebook release for scholars and public alike, although the titles concerned may not interest a broad general audience. Over 50 titles are being made available in multiple ebook formats  (PDF, ePub, Mobi) here, with companion hardbacks available for purchase. However laudable the gesture, though, titles like Organellar Ion Channels and Transporters and Cytoskeletal Regulation of Membrane Function are not going to find many readers outside the research and academic community. However, a title like The Hostage Brain, which "illuminates for the lay audience - through clear prose and striking illustrations - what the brain is,...

Free e-books for reviews: bad idea?
June 10, 2014 | 3:15 pm

Well, this is fairly tone-deaf and yet remarkably predictable. Kim Ukura on BookRiot reports on publisher Crown Publishing Group’s book review program, “Blogging for Books.” This program sends books to bloggers to review…and then they have to review it, publicly, or get dropped from the program. Under Blogging for Books, the vision of an ideal reader is one who reads everything, writes about it, then shares those thoughts across the web to create “buzz” about titles. It’s not enough to read a book and tell a friend – your feelings have to be made public (preferably...

University of Chicago Press offers Liberace biography for free this month
June 2, 2014 | 2:54 pm

liberaceThe University of Chicago Press free e-book this month is Liberace: An American Boy by Darden Asbury Pyron, a biography of, yes, Liberace. It’ll be free throughout the month. The interesting thing to me is that I haven’t looked at University of Chicago free e-books in a while. Last time they were only offering them in PDF. But this time, they’re offering the book in Adobe-DRM-locked EPUB instead, which is definitely an improvement for people who read on devices. There’s also a promo code for 20% off any book in the 2014 Reader’s Catalog....

Celebrate Free Comic Day with free digital comics
May 3, 2014 | 2:55 pm

sensationWell, here it is Free Comic Day. And I’m sure that those of you who run by your local comic shops are finding plenty of free issues to read. But as for those of you not lucky enough to have a comic shop in your area, well, there are still plenty of free digital comics to be had. Image is giving away 196 first issues of its various comic series, including such popular titles as “The Walking Dead” and “Saga.” ComiXology has a curated list of free comics from various comic companies, including free comics from its self-publishing program...

Read an E-Book Week: Twilight Times free e-books, including Displaced Detective
March 8, 2014 | 10:15 am

arrivalHello! I see you’re not taking part in the National Day of Unplugging either. Which is good, since that means you’re still able to read e-books. It’s the tail end of Read an E-Book Week, and here are a few intriguing freebies from Twilight Times Books. Provided in DRM-free PDF, and often EPUB and MOBI, these e-book versions of some Twilight Times titles provide advice to writers as well as some good fiction reading. In particular, there are books on online writing, book reviews, and writing your first book. But there’s also The Case of the Displaced...

How to get the most out of library ebooks via the right gadget, text to speech, and otherwise
October 18, 2013 | 6:26 pm

FireVergeWant to hear text to speech from free library ebooks on your 50-mile commute? Even if you own an Android machine and the usual OverDrive app can’t do “read-aloud” unless audiobooks count? Also, what if you haven’t even bought an e-reading gizmo for library use, but want to? Which model to go with? In those cases and others, the guidance here is for you. Most tips will work even with low-cost, no-name tablets. But let’s pay special attention to the new Kindle Fire HDXes. They are among the top choices if you care more about reading than about tech and can stomach...

Booktrack Combines Music with your E-Books
September 12, 2013 | 1:30 pm

I am a daily commuter, and as such I always my e-reader with me so that I have something to read on my daily train rides. However, the train is far from a quiet library, and as a result I have gotten in the habit of listening to music while simultaneously reading. However, it's no easy task finding the right music to complement your book let alone amplify it. That's where Booktrack comes in. In short, Booktrack is a digital publishing tool that enables bloggers, artists and writers to self-publish their work with corresponding soundtracks. Writers can choose from a catalogue...

YouVersion puts the Bible on your smartphone or tablet
July 28, 2013 | 10:43 am

you-Version-BiblesSunday morning seems like an appropriate time to mention this story. The New York Times has taken notice of YouVersion, a free social-networking-enabled e-Bible application for mobile devices. Built by evangelical megachurch, the application is a non-denominational electronic Bible with access to hundreds of translations in hundreds of languages, including the NIV. The article covers a lot of themes we’ve talked about in relation to other e-book initiatives. For example, the value of free: “We have a generation of people that can’t fathom paying 99 cents for a song that they love,” [YouVersion...

UK Science Museum publishes ‘cli-fi’ novel as free e-book
July 22, 2013 | 11:10 am

UK Science MuseumAlison Flood, writing for The Guardian back in April, introduced a novel experiment in climate fiction by the British writer Tony White titled "Shackleton's Man Goes South." For a few months the nonfiction narrative/novel has been available as a free download from the museum's website, and that's how I read it. Of course, since I prefer reading on white paper, page by page, I printed the pages out at a local copy shop and read the book that way. And what a book it is! In a kind of Borgesian way, White plays with reality and fantasy and fiction and academic prose...

Want 4,000 pages of free science fiction, no pirating required?
July 18, 2013 | 3:49 pm

science fictionIn honor of its fifth anniversary, is offering a free e-book of all the original fiction published on its site in one handy edition. All you have to do is register with the site (painless), and you can download it. It's DRM-free (here's looking at you, Joanna) and available in EPUB, Kindle and PDF. Fair warning: It's a monster. The EPUB is the smallest file, at 68 MB. Eyeballing the table of contents, it looks like you'll be getting 150 stories and some amazing authors, including Gregory Benford, Elizabeth Bear, John Scalzi, Stephen Brust, Brandon Sanderson and more. Each story includes cover...

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