Merry Christmas! I hope your Yuletide is as filled with family, feasting, and festivities as mine is. I didn’t include “presents” (or “favors,” just to keep the alliteration going) in that list because presents aren’t what the holiday is about. That said, I enjoy receiving gifts just as much as the next person and this year was no exception as the gifts I received were thoughtful and heartwarming.
A Kindle 3G was part of my bounty this year and I have to say I love having an e-book reader! I didn’t think I would, what with just how much I enjoy physical books; there’s just something so wonderful about the smell and the feel of a printed book. Even now when using my Kindle I feel a twinge of guilt, as though I’m betraying my childhood dreams of one day having a personal library as vast as the one Belle finds in the Beast’s castle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Despite my misgivings whenever I pick up the device, I have managed to read no less than three books within the last 72 hours. I find it easier to read because it’s only ever one page at a time – when I pick up a physical book, I’m wracked with guilt over the time investment the book’s width visually reminds me I will make in reading it.
I have always proselytized the need to read prolifically in order to improve writing skills. With e-books, doing just that has gotten easier in an increasingly wired world. The beauty of e-books is that even if you don’t have an e-book reader (After all, they are rather pricey. If mine hadn’t been a gift, I would never have purchased one myself), you can still read e-books on any computer using e-book software.
Free E-Book Software
E-books come in a variety of different formats (mainly for proprietary and personal preference purposes) and depending on what file type each e-book you download comes in, you may need to also download a software program capable of reading each file type. The sheer number of different file types can be intimidating, but not to worry, most of these e-book programs support most (if not all) file types, so you’ll only have to download one.
|Calibre||By far my FAVORITE e-book management software, Calibre supports ALL major file formats, lets you convert from one format to another, is compatible with all eReaders, and is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux. What more could you ask for?|
|Adobe Digital Editions||This software supports PDF and EPUB files, lets you annotate pages, and offers a “library” from which you can download and purchase e-books. |
It has built in support for the Sony Reader and is PC and Mac compatible.
|Reader Library Software||Sony makes this program and it is fully compatible with all Sony eReaders (of course). It is also PC and Mac compatible. As far as file type support, the page only mentions the ability to read library books in the software, which means it supports EPUB.|
|Microsoft Reader||Made by Microsoft, this program also has a built in “marketplace” from which you can purchase new e-books. No information about file type compatibility is provided. It is only PC compatible.|
|Kindle Reading Apps||Amazon.com makes a software program that reads its proprietary file type (.AZW) and .MOBI files. Of course, it allows you to browse Amazon.com for more e-books to purchase and download. PC and Mac compatible.|
|Borders eReader Apps||Supporting the .PDF, .MOBI, and .EPUB file types, this software links you directly to Borders.com’s marketplace for e-book browsing and purchasing. PC and Mac compatible.|
|Barnes and Noble Nook Apps||Barnes and Noble is also getting in on the action with their eReader. It is PC and Mac compatible and supports .EPUB, .PDB, and .PDF files.|
If you have Adobe Reader, .pdf files open by default in that program. For other file types, I like Calibre because it’s hard to beat its simplicity, but feel free to choose the e-book software that’s right for you. Run a search in Google for “free ebook readers” for other, more obscure e-book reading software that I left out of this list.
Free E-Book Sources
Now that you have a program that will let you read e-books, it’s time to download some e-books. My personal favorite genre of e-book is the free kind so here are a few websites (in order of personal preference) to get your free e-book library started.
- Amazon.com’s Limited Time Free E-Books
- Open Library
- Project Gutenberg
- The Internet Archive
Hopefully these links will prove useful to you and help you find some reading material that is kind to your wallet this holiday season. Remember, you don’t need to own a fancy e-book reader to benefit from the abundance of e-books available online.