Friday Bookblogging, Special Edition: Read an Ebook Week


We should have done this on Monday, but as we said, around AustenBlog World Headquarters it’s been more like The Editrix is Slothful Week. Actually we’ve been lying about…reading ebooks. 😀 What books, you ask? Little Dorrit (yep, because of the series); His Majesty’s Dragon and Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik, the former of which is available as a free and completely legal PDF download (we read about it on the author’s Livejournal), apparently under the dictum of The First Hit’s Free, as there are links to purchase the other four books in the series at the end…brilliant marketing, we say, as the books are like literary crack–they are about the Napoleonic wars, so somewhat applicable to Jane Austen, and Ms. Novik is an F.O.J.; a little bit of Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser that we downloaded to our Treo since we were late this morning and forgot our Cybook, and found it rather crack-like as well; and now we’re gearing up for a re-read of some book by some Victorian broad for our book group. 😉

Read an Ebook Week officially wraps up on Saturday, but every week is Read an Ebook Week here on AustenBlog. We’d like to give a shoutout to our friends at Girlebooks, who do a fabulously awesome job making professionally formatted ebooks available, most of them completely free, and featuring women writers. You don’t even need a special device to read their books: they’re all available in PDF. And there are reviews about books and some great conversation. Check it out!

If you are someone who, like the Editrix, tends to read wherever she can grab a spare minute–on the train, waiting for the train, standing in line, eating a solitary lunch–you might want to make your ebooks a little more mobile. We’ve discussed devices for ereading before, but of course we will again! La! The selection of dedicated ebook readers is really increasing. Amazon has released the Kindle 2, a sleeker iteration of its eInk-screen reading device (and you can now read Kindle-format books on the iPhone); Sony now has two devices, the PRS-505 and the PRS-700, which has a touchscreen and built-in front-lighting; we are, after a year, still pretty happy with our Cybook Gen 3 (though waiting rather impatiently for a long-promised firmware upgrade); another company, Astak, has put out an eInk reader (which is often reduced in price to $269 or less) and has some really promising items in the production queue; Plastic Logic has announced a flexible-screen reader that is supposed to be out this year sometime; Onyx has an interesting-looking reader in development; and there are others, but this is getting to be a real teal deer. Suffice to say that, though most publications seem to think it’s a choice between Kindle and Sony, there are other options if you’re willing to look for them.

If you have a BlackBerry, iPhone, Treo, or other smartphone, you don’t even need a special device to read ebooks. Mobipocket is a free download that works on several smartphones and handheld devices (as well as your PC! and the files are less resource-intensive than PDFs). eReader is also free and has been ported to many smartphones, including the iPhone. If you have to have a BlackBerry for work, why not put some ebooks on it and have some fun with it?

All of Jane Austen’s novels are available for free download from Girlebooks and many other outlets, along with a host of other wonderful public domain ebooks, in any format you can possibly need; do a Google search and we’re sure you’ll find the public domain book you want. So why not take some time this weekend to read an ebook? We think you’ll be glad you did.