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WOW – This just In! Kindle Store has 7000 Public Domain Books including Civil War Memoirs

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So in my last post, I was saying you could get public domain books to your Kindle for 10 cents if you wanted to find them and upload them for conversion by Amazon and send to you wirelessly. I just found a terrific Kindle Blog that has the following post that indicates that in late January, Amazon loaded 4700 Public Domain Books to their Kindle Store. This saves the hassle of uploading. The post on February 7 indicates that there are 7000 Public Domain books available on the site now. Amazing!

So I just went out to the Kindle Store. Remember that Phil Sheridan’s Memoir that I uploaded and then crossloaded? It was already there on the Kindle store for free broken into parts.

Check it out here.

Grant’s Memoirs are also there.

I “bought” (for zero dollars) both memoirs and seven volumes of The World’s Greatest Fiction. All of these were downloaded and ready for me to read within less than 20 seconds.

Wow…

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More on My New Kindle 2 – Using it with Public Domain Books

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My new Amazon Kindle 2

My new Amazon Kindle 2

There has been a lot of interest in my Kindle 2 since last night’s post here. Harry Smeltzer from Bull Runnings has asked some great questions that have led to a little experimentation on my part. You’re welcome to follow in the comments on the original post but here’s some information many of you will find helpful. Also, I made a correction to my original post. Amazon doesn’t convert files you upload for conversion to PDF but rather to Kindle (.AZW, .AZW1). This is what it sends to your Kindle wirelessly or that you can download from the site and move to your Kindle via USB. Read below for more details. I have the same interest Harry does in reading public domain books on the Kindle.

—Snip from comments—

—Harry said—

It sounds like I should be able to download pdfs into the device myself, and would only need Amazon if I wanted something converted to pdf. Or would I need to go through Amazon anyway to get it into a format compatible with Kindle? The reason I’m so nagging about this is that I would love to be able to read these public domain books (thousands available for free from various sources, including Google) on something other than a computer.

—My reply—

AHA! This is COOL.

OK Harry – so here’s the scoop. The Kindle will read the following file formats:
Kindle (.AZW, .AZW1)
Text(.TXT)
Unprotected Mobipocket (.MOBI, .PRC) (Without DRM)
Audible (.AA, .AAX)
MP3 (.MP3)

So I just downloaded saved an ASCII text version (.TXT) of “The Memoirs of General P. H. Sheridan, Complete” (i.e. both volumes) from Project Gutenberg. I connected my Kindle via the USB to my MAC and simply dragged and dropped the .txt file into the Documents folder on the Kindle. I disconnected the Kindle and VOILA, I have published the entire work to my Kindle.

Now you can also upload to Amazon for conversion files in the following formats:
.DOC
PDF (this is experimental)
Structured HTML (.HTML, .HTM)
JPEG (.JPEG, .JPG)
GIF (.GIF)
PNG (.PNG)
BMP (.BMP)
Compressed ZIP (.ZIP)

They will convert it to Kindle-speak (see formats above) which appear to be UNIX-based and wirelessly send it to your Kindle for $0.10 like I mentioned before. That said, I sent the same book as above in Word (.DOC) over and hour ago to be converted and it hasn’t happened yet. But it’s a BIG HONKING file to be sure. So it may just take some time for really big stuff.

It goes without saying, but I will, that this is not intended to be used for copyrighted materials. I recommend that you review the copyright rules for any site you get ebooks from. Project Gutenberg has some excellent guidelines here. They have some books which are, for example, licensed for use on their site but that license does not allow readers to distribute it. Those in the Public Domain can be used IF you remove the Project Gutenberg trademark and license (which I did for the Sherman Memoir).

Another nice feature is that the dictionary constantly runs at the bottom of the page. So if you run the pointer down the page, it automatically looks up the words and provides a definition at the bottom. I need more text books in this format!!!

Very cool.

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My Love-Hate Relationship with Ebooks

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young_woman_pompei.jpgA short post as I peruse the “ebrary” tool available to me as a graduate student. I am in search of a good text to read and about which to write an academic book review. It’s an assignment in my Historiography class. I’m open for suggestion by the way.

I absolutely LOVE the ability to search, read, highlight and store on my virtual bookshelf the books on-line in virtual libraries. Before I discovered that I had access to “ebrary,” a wonderful tool at the university, I used (and still do) Questia. I am admittedly an e-library “early-adopter” (a term we use in telecom to describe those on the cutting edge who can’t wait for the latest new technology and will pay a premium to have it). Yes I actually pay a hefty sum for my Questia subscription. Now that I’ve seen “ebrary,” I will likely reconsider, but I digress. The point is that for research and easy, quick access to information, ebook libraries are fantastic. I can highlight in multiple colors, build bookshelves on particular topics, create perfectly formatted citationbooks.jpgs in the style of my choosing —sigh — a student’s or any researcher’s dream.

On the other hand, I LOVE to OWN books. I want them all – physically in my house, on my shelves, stacked on my desk, on the floor, the dresser, the nightstand (See earlier post titled Civil War Books Filling Every Nook and Cranny.). I want to be able to pick a book up, feel it in my hands, flip through its pages, highlight phrases I want to remember, scribble in the margins, carry it in my bag to pull out during moments opportune for reading. This tactile experience – which is one of the joys of reading – is just not the same with an ebook.

I’ve been vaguely aware of the ebook readers on the market. One of my staff told me that the new “AmazonKindle” is all the rage in academia. Could this be the best of both worlds? I’m not yet ready to say. I guess I need to try it, but, alas, it has no pages to touch… I remain conflicted.

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