I like to read, when I have a good book in front of me I can tune out the rest of the world for hours at a time. I find the best time to read is during long rides on the TTC. For years I would always have a book one me when I traveled. Of course books can be balky and if I don’t have a bag it could be problematic to carry around with me. That’s where E-Books and Mobipocket Reader comes in.
MobiPocket is a free E-Book reader for mobile devices. It’s been my reader of choice since I first used it on my Palm III. Though there have been improvements the basic software hasn’t changed. You have a library of the books on your device that you can select from. Simple and easy to use, and it supports a number of platforms. Windows PCs, Blackberries, Windows Mobile, Palm Os and more.
Of course the software is useless without books to read with it. The first books I read were public domain, things like John Carter of Mars, the works of Edgar Allen Poe and Heart of Darkness are a few that stick out in my memory. Of course there are only so many public domain books that you want to read, so once you read through them you need to find other sources.
When I started looking I ran into to a couple of major stumbling blocks, the price and DRM. Most publishers charge the same price for an eBook as a hard cover or Trade paperback. To me this seems like gouging. The production and distribution costs of an E-Book are small compared a printed book but we are charged the same amount. DRM or Digital Rights Management is used by publisher to control how you use there E-Book. The restrict how where you can read it. Which means that you could pay as much for an E-Book as a hardcover but only be able to read it on your computer or one of your mobile devices. And like DRMed music if the company ever shuts down the authentication servers (You can see a couple of examples here and here ) or cancels your account (read about it here ) you could loose any access to your books. Both these issues were faced by the music industry when music industry was first going online, but the faced the competition of illegally. E-Books are not as popular as music So though you can find illegal copies on line there isn’t the active Trade in them that will force the publishers to see that the DRM and Pricing are killing a new market for books before it has a chance to grow.
Of course there are some positive signs, Amazon’s Kindle is putting E-Books into the hands of more people and there prices for books almost seems reasonable. If only the Kindle was 1 or 2 hundred dollars cheap and available in Canada.
There is also Baen Books (http://baen.com/), a company that gets that E-Books have to be should affordable and DRM free. Not only do they sell there books for a great price ( $5 or $6 each) they also give away a ton of books. Both at there Free Library (http://baen.com/library/) and on CD’s bundled with some of there hardcover books. It was the ton of books available from Baen that got me hooked on E-Books.
Some other places to get E-Books online, I have not personally used any of these: