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Old 06-05-2010, 01:54 PM   #1
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FREE downloads of the classics!

If you enjoy the classics, now you can download them for free from Girlebooks.

http://girlebooks.com/ebook-catalog/

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Old 06-05-2010, 02:00 PM   #2
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Does this have books that aren't on Project Gutenberg?
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Old 06-05-2010, 05:14 PM   #3
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They get most, but not all, of their texts for the free ebooks from Project Gutenberg. They reformat them for multiple ereading devices, put a linked table of contents on them, make an original cover, and review most of them on their blog.
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Old 06-06-2010, 07:57 AM   #4
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It seems at first look to be quite impressive. Only female authors. Has a few ebooks to buy at very good prices. No DRM, no geographic restrictions.

I downloaded a Jane Austin Book I haven't got, and will post tomorrow on how it is formatted.

Regards, Alex
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Old 06-06-2010, 08:18 AM   #5
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Limited selection (thus far), but an excellent idea.

They also have a very small selection of books for sale.

The epub I downloaded looked Ok, but did not use typographer's quotes.

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: Are you affiliated in any way with the website.



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Old 06-06-2010, 09:10 AM   #6
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Limited selection (thus far), but an excellent idea.

They also have a very small selection of books for sale.

The epub I downloaded looked Ok, but did not use typographer's quotes.

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: Are you affiliated in any way with the website.



Don
My novel is one of their "for sale" books, but other than that, no. The publisher is Laura McDonald based out of Texas. She has been offering the free downloads for several years, and in 2009 began offering books for sale as well.
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Old 06-07-2010, 07:00 AM   #7
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I used a Cybook Gen3 with the ePub firmware.

The ebook I downloaded yesterday
- won't let me change from sans-serif font family to serif, and won't let me toggle between left aligned and justified text.
- has text with seems to be double spaced, but at least does not have blank lines between paragraphs.

Apart from that it seems to be well formatted, and I haven't found a single typo yet - not one. It's a sad reflection on ebook publishing that I feel the need to spell that out.

Regards, Alex
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Old 06-08-2010, 07:56 AM   #8
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[QUOTE=AlexBell;947454 and I haven't found a single typo yet - not one.

Regards, Alex[/QUOTE]

I wrote too soon. Back to the industry standard of one every couple of pages or so.

Regards, Alex
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Old 06-08-2010, 09:26 AM   #9
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What bothers me about the site is that the owner does not acknowledge the sources of the books anywhere but in a single line buried in the "about us" section, and is happily basking in the praise of users who think that she digitized all those books personally, instead of just scraping Project Gutenberg. All references to PG have been stripped from the books. She responds to readers' comments and requests as if she, not PG and thousands of contributors, were doing the work -- and, in fact, has the ... ovaries? ... to solicit donations for herself. That is shameful.

It definitely attracts a different audience than, say, MobileRead. This reader comment caught my eye:

Quote:
hi..wat a novel yaar..i jus lov reading it..it was my non detail in class 10..its been 6 years..from tat day till today i hav not crossed any other novel like tis..any 1 who visit tis..pls dont go without reading..if you r not goin to do..then you r really goin to MISS something in your life
So much for my apparently erroneous belief that reading improves one's writing.

There's also the sexism aspect of it. I can't see her (or any of us, for that matter) approving of a website that would reject a book because a woman wrote it; how can she then turn around and do the same thing? There is no "reverse sexism" any more than there is "reverse racism"; it's either sexism or it isn't, and excluding books because of the sex of their authors is a Bad Thing.

But that's minor compared to the fact that she's pretending that all of these books are the product of her own efforts, and soliciting money from users on that basis, while turning her back on the decades-long project and the thousands of volunteers that made her business possible. That is just low.
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Old 06-08-2010, 01:10 PM   #10
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*tasteless content removed

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Old 06-08-2010, 03:57 PM   #11
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I'm very fond of the Girlebooks site myself. To get the "relationship" stuff out of the way upfront: I have none officially, though I correspond with the site proprietor, have written a review for them, participated in the forum, and recommended some books to be offered. I recommend Girlebooks on my blog for Jane Austen fans, because I like the books; because I liked and recommended them, I got to know the proprietor in an online way when I asked her to do a guest post on my blog. I am considering submitting some of my own work for publication on the site, both for free and paid.

As far as taking the text from Gutenberg, many, many people do that (I have done it for etexts on my own site). You're supposed to remove the Gutenberg text if you change the presentation, or at least that's how I read it. Laura cleans up the files and adds an attractive cover, which gives them added value IMO. Girlebooks is my first stop when I'm looking for a particular public domain text by a female author.

Also, Laura has presented and recommended ebooks (meaning free public domain ebooks) I would not have heard about otherwise, which gives the site value to me. The free books alone there could keep me happily reading for years.

I don't see a problem with having a focus on female authors. Sandy Lerner (one of the founders of Cisco Systems) purchased a 99-year leasehold on a great house in the UK once owned by Jane Austen's brother and has turned it into a library dedicated to the preservation and study of the work of obscure 18th-century female authors. It's a focus on an often ignored and under-represented population.

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Old 06-08-2010, 04:37 PM   #12
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Of course many people take text from PG; that's one of the things it's there for. But to present it as your own work, bury any acknowledgment in an obscure corner of the site, accept praise for the work, and solicit donations, is not a Good Thing. Legal? Sure. Shameful? Also sure.

You don't see a problem with excluding male authors. The Augusta National Golf Club doesn't see a problem with excluding female golfers. I see a problem with both of them. I believe in seeing people as individuals, not as representatives of a class. If a book is good I want to read it, and if it isn't good I don't want to bother, but that decision has nothing to do with whether the author's plumbing matches my own. Your mileage, clearly, may vary.
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Old 06-08-2010, 04:53 PM   #13
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The site doesn't exclude male authors; it focuses on women authors, and caters to a female audience. There is a difference. That's like complaining that a site that features science fiction excludes romance.

I pretty much assume digital texts of public domain stuff these days comes from Gutenberg. That's what Gutenberg is for, by the way.

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Old 06-08-2010, 05:29 PM   #14
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There is no "reverse sexism" any more than there is "reverse racism"; it's either sexism or it isn't, and excluding books because of the sex of their authors is a Bad Thing.
"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread." --Anatole France

Freedoms or restrictions applied "equally to everyone" do not necessarily lead to fair & equitable treatment.

Saying "It's just as sexist to refuse to carry books by male authors as to refuse to carry books by female authors" pretends that male and female authors have had equal opportunities to be published, to be known, to win awards for their writing. It pretends they get equal respect in the public sphere for being "authors" instead of (or in addition to) "factory workers" or "parents." It pretends they are afforded the same access to develop the skills required, and have the same amount of time to practice those skills.

Today, perhaps, this is approaching truth. (But Rowling published under her initials because the publisher didn't believe people would buy a book about wizard boy written by a woman.) But a hundred years ago? Women were *not* given equal opportunities to write, and setting aside space to acknowledge the ones who had not only talent, but managed to take advantage of the rare chance for a woman to be published, is not supporting discrimination.

We will not end oppression and discrimination by pretending history doesn't have any of it, nor by treating everyone today as if people have always had equal rights and opportunities.
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Old 06-08-2010, 07:32 PM   #15
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I can't see how a website which does not list certain authors because of their sex does anything to remedy the discrimination suffered by people who are long dead. If someone who might have written a great book a hundred years ago never got the opportunity to do so, rejecting books by people who were able to write and publish at the time will not dig her up out of her grave and put a pen in her hand. She's dead. The book was never written. Nothing is going to change that.

I don't care, as a reader, whether someone wrote a good book because he or she was naturally talented, or because that person had a good education, or had the opportunity to practice the skills of a writer. I care if the book is good or not. If it's a good book, I don't care if it was written by a man or a woman or a particularly talented kangaroo. And if it's not a good book, I don't care why it's not; it's just not a good book. Reading bad books because their authors labored under some sort of handicap does nothing to benefit those authors -- they're dead! -- and wastes my time. I just want to read the best books (that fit my interests, anyway), no matter who wrote them. I don't care if the author was male or female, left-handed or right-handed, black or white or green. If it's a good book, I want to read it; if it isn't, I don't, and I don't care in the slightest whose name is on the cover. Remember, we're talking about books that were written by people who died before we were born. They're not collecting royalties, and I doubt if they're reading their fan mail, so it doesn't help them if I read their books, or someone else's books, or no books at all. Reading someone's books does not give them some kind of

I feel that singling out books by women sends the message "women need special treatment because they can't compete on their own" -- in this case, that books written by women aren't as good as books written by men, so they have to have a special, protected category where they're only competing with each other. Is that really the best image to perpetuate? Isn't that exactly why J.K. Rowling (and C.J. Cherry[h] before her, and C.L. Moore before her) had to publish under her initials?

It's possible that buying books by "disadvantaged" living writers might help them in some way, as sort of a literary welfare (can't I just send them a check for the royalties they'd get, and then go read a good book with a clear conscience?), but you can't argue the same for dead ones. If a cosmic hand came down tomorrow and erased the books of every author but Jane Austen, it would not change the facts of her life one iota. And we can't change the future if we treat female authors as if they are inherently second-rate, needing to be kept in special hothouses, with their books unable to succeed on their own merits. Nor can we change the future for women in any field if we continue treating sex as one's defining -- perhaps only -- characteristic. We've tried that, remember? That's why women had it so hard as authors for so long.

Present discrimination does not reverse past discrimination; it validates it. It tells people "discrimination is okay if you use these criteria, and it's a very short step from "these" to "those". Either it's right to decide which books should be in a library because of the sex of the authors, or it isn't. It can't be wrong only some of the time.

Maggie, with regard to PG, you'll note that I said "that's one of the things it's there for." That doesn't mean that claiming other people's work as your own, and asking for donations for your "work", is an honorable thing to do.
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