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Some e-reader resources
I have had the office Kindle for the past few weeks. Here are some of the resources and strategies that have helped me get the most out of it.
I was looking on the Amazon Kindle store for a century-old public domain book called Mutual Aid, by Peter Kropotkin, and I found dozens of editions selling for three or four dollars. These publishers are basically hoping that you would be too lazy to navigate away from the Amazon website.
Project Gutenberg is a marvel. I had dipped into it before years ago, but it was always too hard for me to read longer works on a computer screen. With the rise of e-readers, it now becomes one of the best resources on the Web. The formatting is not always perfect, and there are some typos, but the variety and quality of the free content is astounding.
Here's a sample of what can be had for free:
* Every novel that Dickens wrote
* Old, obscure titles that would normally requite a trek to a university library, like novels by the 18th century novelist and botanist Bernardin de Saint-Pierre. (His most famous work, Paul et Virginie, is one of the books that the young Emma Bovary read.)
I think anyone who likes to read will be able to find something they would like. God bless the anonymous volunteers that make all of these books available!
My friend told me about this free program for managing your ebooks. In addition to helping keep track of downloads, it can also convert PDFs into epubs, the preferred format of most e-readers.
I was reading a set of PDF proofs for an upcoming book, and it seemed convenient to turn the proofs into an epub which could be put on the e-reader. I added the PDF to Calibre and then let it handle the conversion, which took about ten seconds.
Granted, the resulting epub had some little glitches, and sometimes page numbers and headers showed up in odd spots, but this was easy enough to ignore while reading, and far preferable to looking at the pages on a laptop.
Since PDFs are so easy to make from Word documents, this free program allows the e-reader to become enormously handy for work-related reading.
And finally, what has helped me enjoy the device the most:
With smartphones, laptops, and now e-readers, many people are connected to some electronic device for most of their waking hours.
There can be something enervating about all of this, and I think most of us have felt a sense of exhaustion after spending all day clicking around a phantom world.
So: I find that I get the most out of these devices when I leave them alone for large periods of each day. I abandon the virtual world for a while and play an instrument, write (with a pen), make something, or just sit. Then I have a fresh mind to appreciate all of the things that these devices can do.