Posts Tagged

ebooks

Scribd started out as a place to share class notes, fledgling short stories or a political manifesto —or pretty much any PDF document you might want to share online. Recently, its taken a new direction.

Scribd has launched an eBook subscription service that’s best described as a ‘Netflix for books’. A monthly subscription offers unlimited novels, non-fiction and user generated content through a browser or smartphone app for just $8.99.

The CEO of Scribd, Trip Adler, recently inked a deal with Harper Collins US, allowing them to distribute their books as part of a subscription model, in addition to the books that were already in Scribd’s library for sale, giving Scribd the content they needed to build a huge online library.

Is this biggest change in the publishing industry since the Kindle arrived?

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12 years ago, Microsoft announced their newest app: Microsoft Reader. It’d be more surprising if you’ve ever used the program than if you’ve never heard of it, and no wonder. There was hardly any market for eBooks back then.

Fast-forward to today, and there’s an embarrassment of riches in the eBook world. You can buy almost any book you can think of – or get a free copy of older books – in just seconds. Thanks to the great reading devices we have today – smartphones, tablets, ultraportable laptops, and eInk readers – it seems there’s no reason not to use eBooks today. They’re convenient, relatively cheap, and let you start reading almost instantly.

The only problem is, to use eBooks you pretty much have to lock yourself into an ecosystem. Buy a Kindle book, and you’ll have to use a Kindle device or one of their apps to read it. Same goes for B&N’s Nook, Apple’s iBooks, and most other eBook stores. There are a number of publishers, especially tech publishers, who are selling their works DRM free in standard formats, but for the most part, you need to pick an eBook ecosystem and stick with it.

That’s why we’re wondering, what eBook store do you frequent the most? I personally buy DRM-free whenever possible (and prefer to get PDF and ePub copies of books), but when I’m buying a book from a store, it’s always the Kindle store since its apps work everywhere I need. How about you?

I’ve started noticing an odd trend: DRM used to bug me to death, but it hasn’t seemed nearly as frustrating lately. I’ve never purchased music with DRM, choosing instead to rip CDs (that I’d legally bought) until iTunes quit DRM-locking their songs. But then it has increasingly become apparant that the biggest frustration with music, or any other media, is keeping up with your purchased files so you don’t lose them. iTunes iCloud now lets you re-download songs and movies, just like the Kindle store has done all along, and I currently feel much safer buying media in each of them since I know I can redownload them anytime.

Several weeks ago, I set out to find a way to manage my DRM-free eBooks in the cloud. Kindle has spoiled me with high-quality native and web apps, and being able to always redownload books from anywhere with an internet connection is very liberating. So much so, I’ve purchased Kindle eBooks over DRM-free books just because Kindle makes them easier to manage. There had to be a better way.

This morning, I finally found what I was looking for, thanks to a post on Minimal Mac about Booki.sh. It was exactly what I’d been looking for. Booki.sh is a new online eBook library that makes it as easy to keep up with your ePub eBooks as using the Kindle Web App. Let’s take a look and see if Booki.sh is nice enough to keep you from downloading an eBook app the next time you want to read a DRM-free eBook.

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I want to make this crystal clear: I love bookstores. I love going to them and checking out the bookshelves and the magazine racks, and finding some good things to read. I discovered a bunch of books and magazine because of bookstores, including the .net Magazine, the best web development magazine out there. That being said, I find more and more often that I go into bookstores and leave empty handed. Here’s why.

Let me start off by saying that even though I have a Kindle and read magazines on my tablet from time to time, sometimes there is just no substitute for a real, physical book. This is especially true of programming and web development books, which I tend to reference a lot so I prefer the physical copy to its digital counterpart. I also have a pretty nice bookshelf that would go to waste if I didn’t keep buying print books. So I truly enjoy going into bookstores in hopes of finding something new to read, whether it be a coding book, fiction, or a new magazine. But as I said in the intro, I tend to go into bookstores with the intention of buying a book, and end up leaving empty handed. The culprit for this is technology as a whole, specifically smart phones, the Internet, and e-readers.

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I know that the summer, a time in particular where people take time to read, is just about done, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop reading! Heck, when Hurricane Irene hit my neck of the woods and power was out, just about all I could do was read. Plus, winter is right around the corner, and what better thing to do to pass the time than read (when you’re not shoveling snow)? With all of that in mind, I’ve put together a list of 12+ websites and eBook stores to help you find whatever book it is you’re looking to read.

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