Digital Book Index: pure delight

Today I practically stumbled upon something so massive it’s amazing I didn’t bump into it digital book indexearlier. The Digital Book Index is a meta-indexing project that provides links to over 165,000 full-text digital books, the vast majority of them free, though some come with a fee.

Some of their key topics are:

Arts:   Art & graphic arts, architecture, dance, decorative arts, costume, theatre & drama, music, photography, film & video
Children’s Books:   Contemporary & classic children’s books and stories
History:   American, English, Irish, European, Asian, African, local and regional histories
Law:   US Constitutional history, state constitutions, treaties, state statues & laws, legal ethics rules, copyright, and consumer information.
Literature:   Ranging from Chaucer & other medieval texts to modern, contemporary fiction
Math & Sciences:   Mathematics, astronomy, biology, botany & zoology, genetics, chemistry, physics, engineering, electronics, & computer science
Medicine & Health:   For professionals and patients including anatomy, radiology, infectious diseases, surgery, oncology, dentistry, and more
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Kindle and OverDrive

People have been asking for instructions on using a kindle to check out eBooks from their public library through OverDrive, courtesy of Pioneer: Utah’s Online Library.  Well, here you go.

Instructions:

  1. Visit your Utah public library’s website and click on the link to Overdrive. Or, go to http://pioneer.utah.gov and click on OverDrive.
  2. Check out a Kindle book (library card required).
  3. Click on “Get for Kindle.” You will then be directed to Amazon.com to redeem your public library loan. You may be required to login to your Amazon.com account — or create a new account — if you’re not already logged in.
  4. Choose to read the book on your Kindle device, free reading app, or Kindle Cloud Reader.

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Cloud eBook Reading

[Here’s my response to my 12/29/10 OverDrive post]

We’ve all heard of cloud computing (googledocs), cloud social networking (facebook), and here comes the next big thing: cloud eBook reading. That’s where your eBook is held in the cloud and you can bookmark your place and come back to it no matter which handheld or computer you’re using.

The big advantage is that you don’t have to download an app or a piece of software or have a dedicated e-reading device.

Joseph Pearson of Inventive Lab wrote, “The one single platform we expect future e-reading devices to have in common is the web browser. If you want to give your readership the freedom to own (forever) the books they buy from you, the web is where it will happen.”

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OverDrive and the rest of the modern world as we know it

Here I am. Using OverDrive with my new iPod which I got fairly recently. There are other sources of ebook and audiobooks as well such as NetLibrary (free from your public library in Utah), Google Books (older classics free, $ for newer titles), Kobo (free, $),  Audible ($) , iTunes (some free, most $), Project Gutenberg (free, mostly ebooks), the list goes on. Right now I’m transferring War and Peace to my iPod hoping for the latter not the former.

There’s gotta be some way to get organized. I’m seeking nirvana: combining an iPad with a knockout interface where everything comes at me in one place, put into categories like shelves in a bookcase.

Something to dream of, plan for, investigate.

Books are going out the door

The Boston Globe reported a week ago that the Cushing Academy, a prestigious prep school in western Massachusetts, is replacing its 20,000-volume book collection with a “learning center” containing 18 eBook readers and three giant TV screens. It’s replacing the reference desk with a $12,000 espresso machine.

“It’s a little strange, but this is the future.”

ALA executive director Keith Michael Fiels says this is the first library he is aware of to eliminate books.

“When I look at books, I see an outdated technology, like scrolls before books,’’ said James Tracy, headmaster of Cushing and chief promoter of the bookless campus. “Our feeling,” he says, “is that we love books so much that we want our students to not have 20,000, but millions.”

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