My NEXT Step in Technology

(Jump to tips on using Project Gutenberg)

For years I've been saying I would buy a Kindle, and every year I've put it off. They're just too friggin' expensive and I don't have that kind of money to spend. And ditto for other eReaders. But some things happened this year that compelled me to make buying an eReader a priority.

One is Dover Publications. I have been buying from them for well over forty years. Hayward Cirker created a wonderful company that served the people and made a profit. But, though there have been improvements since he died and their printer, Courier Corporation bought them out, there have also been signs of growing corporate greed and dwindling care for the customer.

In the past—recent past as in 2014, their Thrift Editions were still a bargain. Priced at a few bucks, even for big, thick books, for instance by Dostoyevsky, plus the fact that I never order from them without a coupon, free shipping, and a sale going on (the annual fall warehouse sale usually meant Thrift Editions for one or two dollars), I was able to justify still buying book books.

However, they are raising their prices considerably, making their Thrift Editions not quite so thrifty and other books downright expensive. Plus they discontinue books that should never be out of print. And most frustrating is that they publish bits and pieces of books in a series. I've complained. They don't care.

But the last straw is that they charge money for their eBooks. The vast majority of books they print (other than coloring books, of course) are out of copyright. You can get these eBooks for FREE at Amazon.

And even more at Project Gutenberg and their affiliates, in fact, altogether, they have about 8 MILLION FREE eBooks. The more I became familiar with this network, the more I determined I needed an eReader. All the books I've wanted to read but couldn't find suddenly became available to me. I've been like a kid in a candy shop.

Please, NEVER BUY AN EBOOK FROM DOVER unless you have exhausted all the sources I am providing. It is a rip-off!!

A lovely acquaintance of mine named Bev generously supplied me with information and took quite a bit of time answering my probing questions which helped me with my final decision. She has an iPad and convinced me to buy a tablet, because then you not only have an eReader, but a little mobile computer.

Of course Apple is way out of my price range, but I found a great NEXTBOOK on sale at for only $59!!. That's half the price of a Kindle. It had Nook preloaded, plus I added a Kindle app.

Did you know you can download a Kindle app to ANY computerized device FOR FREE! I installed one on my desktop also. These few easy steps have now opened up a vast new access to the literary world.

Please note: You do NOT need Wi-fi to work with Project Gutenberg and their affiliates except to activate your Nook and/or Kindle readers. I went to the library for free Wi-fi, just to get everything set up. Now, to use my reader and load whatever books I please, I simply do it through my USB cable and computer.

Project Gutenberg and their affiliates are non-profit organizations devoted to digitizing the world's literature (that is no longer under copyright) so that everyone may read for free. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR ILLITERACY. Even without an eReader, these books come in so many different formats that as long as you have access to any computer, you can read, and if you have some kind of challenge that makes it difficult to see or read, you can LISTEN because there are more and more books being made available in audio format. The affiliate LibriVox has volumes of audio books to listen to on your computer, iPod, or other mobile device, or to burn onto a CD.

Tips for using Project Gutenberg with an eReader

I will share information I have discovered using my NEXTBOOK. Every device is a little different, but this is not difficult to figure out. Project Gutenberg also supplies tips.

NOOK works particularly well with Project Gutenberg. Find whatever book you want, then left-click to download and place it on your desktop. There are different file formats, and you will choose EBUP. The file will arrive with a number followed by .epub (the file type). Right click on the file, then click rename and type in the name of the book followed by .epub, such as The Lair of the White Worm.epub. That's essential so you can recognize it on your device.

After I initially activated my NOOK by creating an account (you need to go where there's Wi-fi for this), then I simply connect my device to my computer via the USB port and turn it on. (Your tablet must be turned on.) Then, on my computer, I click open "My Computer." I open the icon for my device by double-clicking until the different apps and other components are visible. I simply drag and drop the file into the folder named NOOK. I also store my ebooks, neatly organized in folders, temporarily on my desktop and permanently on my external hard drive and a back-up on a flash drive.

To access my book to read on my device using NOOK, it is necessary to go to "File Manager" and tap the search icon (magnifying glass). A keyboard will show up, and I begin typing the name of the book. Options appear immediately, as in Google Instant, and usually after I've typed about three letters, the book I am looking for is available to tap. Tapping it asks you if you want to read it on NOOK. Once you tap that, it will be permanently on your NOOK app to read whenever you like. To delete it, go back through your desktop, double-click on the NOOK folder, find the file, and right-click to delete.

NOOK easily bookmarks by tapping the upper right corner. The page corner will fold down. By tapping the top of the page, a slider will appear on the bottom so your can scroll through pages by number. You can also highlight and make notes.

The process for KINDLE is similar. I don't know why Amazon has to be so friggin' complicated with this—they have so many different file names. The books you get from Amazon come in two files, but the only one you really need is the one that looks like a blue book. It has the file name .azw. At Project Gutenberg, follow the same procedure as above for NOOK. You will only get one file downloaded, the one that looks like a blue book, and the file type will be .mobi. (You have to make sure you specify to download onto your desktop, because my first couple arrived in my "Documents and Settings" folder.) Again, open your device up through the USB port, then drag and drop your file from your desktop into the KINDLE folder. You do not need to go through the File Manager with Kindle; when you open your KINDLE app, your book will automatically be there.

Please note that each device is a little different, and I am still learning the easiest ways to navigate all this. I will continue to update this newsletter as necessary.

Incidentally, once you have KINDLE installed on your desktop, you may also buy books or get free books from Amazon, by downloading them onto your desktop, then dragging them onto your device. You do not need Wi-fi, but you need to download a Kindle app onto your computer.

One other point: You do not need a reading device or app at all to read any of these books. They may all be read online, or, if you click on "More Files" you can download a text file which can be read offline. On my computer, my Notepad opens those files, and on my tablet, an HTML reader.

Gutenberg Australia

If you find that a book you want is still under copyright in the U.S., there is a good chance you can find it in Australia. Technically, they state that you should not download a book still under copyright in the country in which you live. Believe me, I have always supported copyright laws, but the internet has sort of changed a lot of things, and my attitude is that I can and will use any page I can access on the internet. So, let your own conscience be the judge.

Gutenberg Australia isn't quite so user-friendly, anyways. I am only using it for books that are available nowhere else, and I figure, eventually they will appear, out of copyright, on Project Gutenberg. I am also finding other Austrlian affiliates, such as Roy Glashan's Library, which does offer books in the EPUB format. I used this source for the books in the Pellucidar Series.

Gutenberg Australia doesn't offer eReader options. All their books are in text file format. To download, I just click the Zip folder and put it on my desktop. I then double click the zip folder and drag the file out, rename it (as I mentioned above), except the file type will be .txt. When I double click it to open it on my desktop, it opens in my Notepad program.

To load onto my device, I either put it in my KINDLE or NOOK folder—it doesn't matter because neither will read them. I go to my "File Manager" and again type in the first few letters of the name of the book, and it opens it in an HTML reader. This is all fine, but the one big drawback is that there's no way to bookmark it because, unlike eReader formats, there are no page turns. It is one long, long page.

Gutenberg Australia does make available free software to convert text files to EPUB or MOBI (Kindle). Those are available on the Help page, but I have not used them yet, so I cannot say if they are easy or tricky.

Here is a list of Gutenberg Affiliates.
Here's another one:

So, there you are. There's no excuse not to read. I can't imagine my life without books. Reading makes you wise, makes you think, and stimulates your creativity and brain activity. It keeps your mind young and ever-expanding. Reading is essential to life!


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