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Old 04-30-2005, 11:06 AM   #1
Bob Russell
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Best Sources of E-Books

Post your favorite sources of e-books here as replies to this thread. Please indicate whether the site is free or pay (or mixed), plus an indication of what the site is like and what kinds of books can be found there.

I'll get things started with my favorites, which are some of the heavy hitters that should be bookmarked by every PDA owner:

1. Project Gutenberg [Free] This is a huge collection of classic texts that is sure to include your favorites. It is growing all the time, and the most popular books are even available on a CD or DVD that you can receive for free if you don't have adequate online access. You might even want to consider donating a small amount to support their ongoing work to expand their library. And don't miss their page on converting texts for PDAs and eReaders

2. Memoware [Free] Another giant collection of texts. This one is not just classic texts, but does include classics. The advantage of this site is that you can usually find a PalmDoc or iSilo text for most of the books. Other PDA formats are also supported on some books. They have their own excellent guides for many aspects of ebook reading on PDAs. It's a great resource even if you don't download any of their books.

3. eReader [Mostly Pay] This site is a bookstore with DRM-protected books designed to be read on their own eReader software, available on platforms including Pocket PC and Palm. The have a few free books here also. Commercial books are "ready to go" and usually are formatted a bit nicer. Most modern books and best sellers can be found at online bookstores, but not at the major free sites.

4. Fictionwise [Mostly Pay] Another excellent bookstore with DRM-protected books. This store offers books in various formats, including secure versions for MobiPocket, MicrosoftReader, AdobeReader, PalmReader and FictionwiseReader. They also offer many books in multiformat, which are not DRM-encrypted, and include up to eight different formats including Adobe Acrobat (PDF), Mobipocket, Palm Doc, iSilo, Microsoft Reader, Franklin eBookMan, Hiebook, and Rocket (REB/1100).

5. Christian Classics Ethereal Library [Free] This is a bit more of a specialty site, but an excellent one with wide appeal. It provides a massive collection of texts, making it an unbelievable library of the classic Christian writings, covering a wide range of authors. A delightful source because most of the best Christian writing was done a long time ago, and therefore is copyright-free. [Edit: This link may not be available for a while. The CCEL editor forums indicate that the server has been crashing the last few days. May take as much as several weeks to repair. Seems to be run by a Professor, probably at Wheaton College, and this is a busy time of the semester for him. I'm sure it will be back, better than new, in the near future.]

With the growth of online book collections and ebook reading devices such as PDAs, this is truly a great time to be a book reader!

Be sure to add your own favorite sources of ebooks. There are many more out there, and the sites above are just the tip of the iceberg!
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Old 04-30-2005, 12:14 PM   #2
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Blackmask Online
http://www.blackmask.com/cgi-bin/newlinks/page.cgi?d=1

Free. large variety of ebooks in many formats (MS-Reader - Acrobat - Rocket eBook - Zipped format - iSilo - Mobipocket). No native Palm format (other than the worthless iSilo and Mobipocket), but the Zipped (HTML) format can be easily converted.
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Old 04-30-2005, 12:37 PM   #3
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Manybooks [Free]: more than 10,000 eBooks from Project Gutenberg and other sources, formatted for reading on Palm, PocketPC, Zaurus, and Rocketbook.

I like it because of its clean layout and the many file formats that are support (like eReader, Plucker, iSilo, and even Sony Librie!!).
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Old 04-30-2005, 02:32 PM   #4
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Amazon (pay): Sometimes Amazon offers you the best deal on e-books... I always check them first before I make a final order somewhere else (like eReader). They offer e-books in various formats including PDF and .LIT (latter can be easily converted to other formats with ConvertLit). With the latest acquisition of Mobipocket stock it is likely that Amazon will also offer e-books in Mobipocket format soon.
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Old 04-30-2005, 08:42 PM   #5
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One thing missing from our site evaluations is the quality of eBooks. I'm talking about spelling and formatting mistakes.

eBooks I get from questionable sources are usually pretty poor - and that's no surprise.

But pay sites, like Fictionwise, also have a good number of errors for longer eBooks. One I downloaded recently had typical OCR errors in them (ex: the main character's name is "Varl", but it often showed up in the text as "Van" - the OCR software mistaking "rl" for "n").

Surprisingly, eBooks from Project Gutenberg and Blackmask tend to have far fewer errors.

Hmmm... could it be that "open source" books have the same "many eyes" bug-less-ness when compared to "closed source" books? 8-)
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Old 05-01-2005, 02:25 AM   #6
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The Gutenberg books go through a fair amount of proof reading before they're put up for release, so the quality does tend to be pretty good, I've found.

As for book sites, Baen has to be one of my personal favourite pay sites for ebooks....

And don't forget Diesel books as well.

Craig.
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Old 05-01-2005, 06:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlauzon
But pay sites, like Fictionwise, also have a good number of errors for longer eBooks. One I downloaded recently had typical OCR errors in them (ex: the main character's name is "Varl", but it often showed up in the text as "Van" - the OCR software mistaking "rl" for "n").
That surprises me. Shouldn't they be able to work with the original electronic transcript instead of first having to OCR it?
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Old 05-01-2005, 07:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbarnett
And don't forget Diesel books as well.
I second that. Diesel e-books is a good place for commercial e-books. They also offer various discounts depending on your spending habits I know Scott from various e-mail exchanges, and I am convinced there'll be a lot more features to come at Diesel's.
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Old 05-01-2005, 11:06 AM   #9
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DRM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander
I second that. Diesel e-books is a good place for commercial e-books.
Unfortunately, all the eBooks are DRMed up the wazoo. Unless something changed since I was last there, you not only need the DRM capable reader (don't think about using the one that you like) but you are also required to use Microsoft products to even download the eBooks in some formats.
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Old 05-01-2005, 11:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doctorow
That surprises me. Shouldn't they be able to work with the original electronic transcript instead of first having to OCR it?
In some cases they do - since they get the file directly from the author. But older ones (like Robert E. Howard, for example) there are no electronic versions (well, no legal ones at least).
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Old 05-01-2005, 07:25 PM   #11
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Old 05-02-2005, 02:28 AM   #12
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Aw, come on hacker, spill it!

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Old 05-03-2005, 03:03 PM   #13
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PDA 24/7 is reporting today that Powells sells ebooks also. Palm Reader, Adobe, and MS Reader formats are available.
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Old 05-14-2005, 10:16 AM   #14
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Many Book Sites Listed in 2003

And Palm Addicts tell us today about eBookMall. If you haven't been there recently, be sure to visit. You think they have pretty much perfected the site and then they keep continuing to get better and better. I've seen a lot of ebook and mobile content info recently, and well as the occassional post that's not directly Palm related, which is always interesting and adds a lot to the appeal of the site in my opinion.

Well, that particular item led me to search MobileRead to see if it had already been written about. Came upon this very nice thread from the Turcic.com days in 2003. It has many lists of ebook sites including eBookMall.

It would be an interesting exercise to look through them and see how many have survived.
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Old 05-17-2005, 06:45 PM   #15
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I'd like to add my site to the list--www.booksforabuck.com. We offer novel-length fiction specializing in science fiction, mystery, fantasy, and romance. All of our books are either free or only $1. Check it out (free first chapters for all books)
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