December 20, 2004 9:33 PM   Subscribe

"This site contains more than 10,000 eBooks formatted for reading on your Palm, PocketPC, Zaurus, Rocketbook, eBookWise-1150, or Symbian cellphone." So if you have a PDA and especially if you're into the classics, you no longer have to settle for lame video games on your cell phone or inconvenient newspapers for your downtime entertainment.
posted by Doohickie (19 comments total)
I assume these are all books that have fallen out of copyright. It would be neat to have one in which you could download the book for a nominal fee, ala iTunes.
posted by Arch Stanton at 10:19 PM on December 20, 2004

This seems to be piggybacking on Project Gutenberg (metalab shoutout!). Not that there's anything wrong with that, I'm all for spreading the love.

As best I can tell, they take public domain books, as plain text, then format them as an eBook to be read on your PDA (so you don't have to do the work for converting from plain text to, say, Rocketbook), then cache the result for the next person who wants to read Kipling on their Palm. All in all, this is good.

I like the interface of manybooks quite a bit more as well. The Gutenberg site, even after being redone, feels like an old-school card catalog with way too much information at pretty much every point. Manybooks is more streamlined, easier to use. I do like that Gutenberg has an RSS feed, not something I'd ever noticed before.

Great find, Doohickie!
posted by jimray at 11:37 PM on December 20, 2004

This is wonderful! In the about section, they mention that most of the library does indeed come from Project Gutenberg - they're simply providing a better interface and conversion tools. But this, combined with their excellent interface, make the texts far more accessible. Bravo!
posted by aladfar at 11:42 PM on December 20, 2004

I assume these are all books that have fallen out of copyright. It would be neat to have one in which you could download the book for a nominal fee, ala iTunes.

I saw a banner ad for that very thing yesterday. I think it was on
posted by fshgrl at 2:37 AM on December 21, 2004

I assume these are all books that have fallen out of copyright. It would be neat to have one in which you could download the book for a nominal fee, ala iTunes.

Hmm? The ebook industry is definately out there. Not quite as booming as some had hoped, but existant..

About a better-looking gutenberg: check this out. (Wow, is it just me or does the site have no 'About' section? That's maddening.)
posted by Firas at 3:00 AM on December 21, 2004 [1 favorite]

Thank you so very much for this link Doohickie - I have spent all morning getting myself some quality books and a few random bits and pieces - I will be grabbing a heck load more tonight. Once again, thank you. A wonderful resource.
posted by longbaugh at 6:13 AM on December 21, 2004

This is awesome. Thanks Doohickie. Does anyone have a recommendation on the best format to download? (PocketPC OS)
posted by Otis at 6:21 AM on December 21, 2004

Otis: brief suggestions are on the help page (eReader from PalmDigital is pretty nice, believe it or not), but there are quite a few PocketPC readers with supported formats to choose from -- I like the Plucker format, myself, using Vade Mecum as a reader.

( Firas, I think that is based in New Delhi, which is why they can host stuff like Orwell's 1984 -- and I can only guess that based on a whois search.)
posted by fireproof at 6:42 AM on December 21, 2004

all books that have fallen out of copyright

Actually, there are a few titles that have Creative Commons licenses, like Cory Doctorow's books, and a couple of living authors have submitted books to the site as well. But the basic idea is that the texts are un-encumbered by copyright, so they can be distributed freely. yay, Project Gutenberg!
posted by fireproof at 6:47 AM on December 21, 2004

Wow, Doohickie, thanks a million! I've a brand spankin' new Dell PDA that I'm just now loading with "stuff," having been pretty much a Palm-only guy for a long time. This is incredibly helpful!
posted by JollyWanker at 8:21 AM on December 21, 2004

Thanks for the great link!

Also of note - it seems that many libraries are now offering eBooks that can be checked out for several weeks for the comfort of your own home. At the end of that period, your downloaded version is no longer readable and someone else is able to checkout the eBook.

Unfortunately, all of the libraries I've found so far require you to be a local resident [although, fortunately I live in a large city that has eBook checkout, although, unfortunately, I'm required to get off my butt and physically go to the library to create my account. :) ]. As eBooks become more and more prevalent (and they will - come on digital paper), it would make sense to me to create a national eBook library. Or, perhaps, just have all of the major libraries ban together to form one national eBook checkout system.
posted by Bort at 9:07 AM on December 21, 2004

I've tried using my palm pilot as an ebook reader, but find that the small screen is hard on my eyes after 15-20 minutes. I've searched for a dedicated device to buy, but nothing has quite matched my expectations.

A friend had a Rocket eBook several years ago and it was a good first try, but it was a bit thick and now are out of business.

The Sony Librie is near perfect with it's E Ink screen and clean formfactor, however they blew it big time with their DRM restrictions. Luckily, they've seen the light. However, the high price and limited availability are still keeping me away.

Soon, I hope.
posted by beowulf573 at 9:11 AM on December 21, 2004

I personally don't have a PDA, but I thought the site was neat, even for downloading to PCs. My wife is finishing her degree and may no longer need her ipaq to take notes, so I may be getting it as a hand-me-down. Thanks for all the tips on reader software!
posted by Doohickie at 9:20 AM on December 21, 2004

I'm a reasonably avid ebook reader, and though I don't have any stake in it, I'd like to plug eReader/Palm Digital Media. I've bought something like 30 books from them over the past five years and their reader software and book selection has only gotten better over time.

The software is available on PC/Mac/Palm/Pocket PC, and the DRM key is simply your credit card username and account number. Even better, you can go into your "bookshelf" on their site and change the credit card your books are bound to, for instance. There are also no restrictions on the number of devices where you can install a book, though I believe the license does specify one device at a time.
posted by gkostolny at 9:35 AM on December 21, 2004

I like the eReader/Palm Digital Media solution because they also make available software for you to easily create your own PDA ebooks. While of course the files themselves are usually just tagged text, the custom application makes it easy to include bookmarks, cover images, and the like. Lynne Cheney's "Sisters"? Done!
posted by pzarquon at 11:27 AM on December 21, 2004

Memoware is another site with a good selection of public domain books in various formats.
posted by neurodoc at 2:05 PM on December 21, 2004

I enjoy reading Science Fiction, so every couple of months I go to this site and download a bunch of short stories, transfer them to my palm pilot, and voila, a new SF anthology in my pocket!
posted by straight at 9:02 PM on December 21, 2004

<MaeWest>Is that an SF anthology in your pocket, or are ya just happy to see me?</MaeWest>
posted by Doohickie at 9:53 PM on December 21, 2004

Is that an SF anthology in your pocket, or are ya just happy to see me?

It may not look very big, but it will keep ya' entertained for hours!
posted by straight at 12:32 PM on December 22, 2004

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