Friday, October 21, 2011

36,000+ Free eBooks For Your eReader and Tablet

When you hear the name Gutenberg, one immediately associates it with the printing press (Johannes Gutenberg: German publisher who introduced the printing press). But more and more this name is nowadays associated with the "Project Gutenber", the first and largest single collection of free electronic books, or eBooks, founded by Michael Hart, who unfortunately recently past away. His legacy though keeps thriving into a paradigm that will shape the future, together with the eReaders, of how information is exchanged and shared.

And how does all of this affect you? Well, all of a sudden you are the beneficiary of 36,000+ free eBooks. Does it sound good? It gets better. All of these books are compatible with your eReader and tablet!

As they say, Project Gutenberg is not only for your desktop or notebook computer:

The Nook, Kindle, Sony EReader, iPad and other eBook readers can display Project Gutenberg eBooks (we are not going to try to list them all here, but every such device we are aware of has the ability to display one or more of Project Gutenberg's typical file formats). Most recent mobile phones can also display them. Many MP3 players, gaming systems, and other devices can display eBooks, too. The Project Gutenberg site offers download formats suitable for eBook readers, mobile phones, and other devices. 
Different devices and download formats offer different features for displaying and manipulating the eBooks. They can all display eBooks for reading a page at a time. Other available features might include choice of fonts, sizes and colors; bookmark or annotation functionality; and options for sharing. 
There are several different ways of obtaining and viewing the titles, and most people will be able to choose whichever suits them best. Before getting started, check with your device's documentation to determine which formats you can display. This page lists the formats that Project Gutenberg offers: 
Here are some of the ways we know of to get Project Gutenberg eBooks to your eBook reader or mobile phone:
  1. Try the new Project Gutenberg Mobile Site. This site is still undergoing testing and development, but has been found to work well for many devices.
  2. Download eBooks directly to your device over the Internet. If your device is Internet-enabled, just visit the catalog page for a book, and download one of the formats your device can display. Here is a sample catalog page: Use the author/title search boxes on every page at to find eBooks you are interested in.
  3. Download to your computer, using your Web browser. Then, transfer the book's file(s) to your device using a USB cable or similar method. Before copying, you might use a program on your computer to transform the files to another format.
  4. Use a third party site (including some for-fee sites), which facilitate getting files onto your device. Try Project Gutenberg's partners and affiliates. Here is the magic catalog for Project Gutenberg titles, created in MOBI and EPUB versions (MOBI is suitable for the Kindle): 

The Amazon "Kindle" devices seem to work well with Project Gutenberg titles, including the different versions (DX etc.). Amazon has made instructions available for downloading Project Gutenberg titles in "Mobi" format, which is now listed as "Kindle" format at See Amazon's instructions at Free Book Collections. For MS-Windows users, there is a video describing the process at YouTube, via a blog on the power of small instructional videos
Kindle devices favor the "MOBI" format, which is usually labeled "Kindle" on the Project Gutenberg download pages
As described above, you can first download to your computer, then connect your Kindle and copy files to it. This works with MOBI and plain text. The HTML and EPUB files we copied were not viewable on the Kindle. Audio books in MP3 format will play through the Kindle's music player, but the player is limited and does not let you see and select from available audio books.
The Kindle Web browser can display HTML and plain text from Project Gutenberg, but not the other formats we tried from the Project Gutenberg site.
Beware that there are many Amazon titles in print and eBooks that are not free from them, but are free from Project Gutenberg. In addition, we have found that Amazon outsources many of their own digital imprints, and sometimes their non-free titles violate the Project Gutenberg trademark (i.e., Project Gutenberg has never received any trademark royalty payments from Amazon). For older (pre-1923) content, there is a good chance that Project Gutenberg has it for free, but Amazon will charge money for it. Of course there might be advantages to the non-free version (such as better formatting). Be aware, and make an informed choice.
Project Gutenberg would like to thank Amazon for providing Kindles for our evaluation.

The Barnes & Noble "Nook" devices seem to work well with Project Gutenberg titles, including the different versions (Color etc.). Here is a forum article describing one way to transfer eBook files from your computer to the Nook: How to transfer EPUB files to your Nook. Note that to connect, your Nook needs to be awakened (use the on-screen slider to do this, you'll get a message that it is connected to your computer). Other points for the Nook:
You can use the built-in Web browser to look at Project Gutenberg eBooks in text and HTML format, but it will not display EPUB or the other common Project Gutenberg download formats
Instead, use your computer's Web browser to find and download EPUB or other formats. Use the techniques described elsewhere on this page. There does not seem to be a way to download those formats to your Nook without going through your computer or the online Nook store.
Beware that there are many Barnes & Noble titles in print and eBooks that are not free from them, but are free from Project Gutenberg. B&N often adds a "Copyright" statement to such old books (for example, Pride and Prejudice, which actually is included with the Nook), but only things like the cover and introduction are copyrighted, the main text is not. For older (pre-1923) content, there is a good chance that Project Gutenberg has it for free, but B&N will charge money for it. Of course there might be advantages to the non-free version (such as better formatting). Be aware, and make an informed choice.

Kobo Reader
The Kobo reader online store includes free access to 100 of the most popular Project Gutenberg titles. You need to go through the registration process to get access to the store. Direct transfer of downloaded eBooks from a computer to the Kobo did not immediately work for us, but is supposed to be supported. The Kobo supports PDF and ePub formats. Project Gutenberg would like to thank Kobo for providing free evaluation readers. 
The Android operating system is found on many phones and tablets. The specific features and applications varies, and there are often customizations to Android that change functionality. For the most part, however, Android devices include Web browsers that can be used to read Project Gutenberg's text and HTML eBooks. For other file types, you can try copying from your computer to the device as described above. 

In the same way that mp3 files and players, combined with the Internet, changed the music industry for good, projects and new ideas like these will create a world where information and literature are gonna be available to anyone. The forces of the market are braking the weird chains that constrain ideas and beauty.

Hope you enjoy your reading! :)


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How to manage Personal Documents with the new Kindles

As we saw on our last post, with the new software update all Kindles have access to Amazon´s cloud, and can now sync not only eBooks, but also personal documents.
We found a great thorough article about this on Andrys Basten´s blog: A Kindle World Blog, not only it goes deep into how the new system works with personal documents, but also explains how to make it 100% functionally and free:

As many now know, since Sept. 30 and with the Kindle Keyboard software update to v3.3 on Oct. 13, Amazon has made notable, long-requested improvements to the Personal Documents feature, upgrading personal documents that you send to your Kindle, from 2nd-class status to having the regular features that Kindle books have. 
Those first-class features include sync'g your reading between devices, having them archived at the Amazon servers, and showing their titles in your Kindle's Archived Items folder when the personal document is no longer on the Kindle, for future re-downloading to any of your Kindles as needed.  (You can also disable the archiving & sync'g features.)
Personal docs are, generally, any file that is not a Kindle book and they're usually files we've personally put on our Kindle -- either by transferring them from computer to the Kindle, via the USB cable that comes with our Kindle's power cord or by using our email to send the file to our Kindle (which is given a "Kindle email address" for that purpose, in the form  [your nickname] . 

  For example: My Kindle 3 address is -- and no one can use it to send documents to my Kindle unless I approve that person's email address for doing that.  Approval for others to send docs to your Kindle  can be registered by you at your page.
Any file that we send to our Kindle by email goes to the Amazon servers where it is converted to Amazon format before Amazon gets it ready for download to the Kindle.
  Once you've made that special nickname-email address for your Kindle, you can specify that you want to send a personal file to your Kindle email address WITHOUT using the "3G" cellphone network feature.  Why? - because there is a 15c per megabyte fee to use 3G for sending personal docs to your Kindle.  (See 'What are "3G" and "WiFi?".)
  Amazon pays for 3G cell-phone type data-access and they charge back 15c per megabyte of a file for that reason.
   Sending files via WiFi networks doesn't incur a fee, as WiFi is local to us, in our home, or at work, or at a cafe or other public place that allows access to one, and Amazon doesn't have to pay for that.
   The new Basic Kindle with No Keyboard and No TouchScreen is WiFi only, so there's no way to incur a fee with that.
When would you find yourself using 3G instead of WiFi?The Kindle 1, Kindle 2, and larger DX models use ONLY 3G  wireless access for downloading books or for going to the web.  The Kindle 3 (UK: K3) ("Kindle Keyboard") uses both 3G and WiFi.
Making sure you send the file for free
The TWO ways you can get the file to your Kindle without using 3G are:
  1. Send it to [your nickname[ (note the "free" part in the link) which will let you download the converted doc file or book using a WiFi wireless network at home, office, or a place like McDonald's or Starbucks instead of using 3G wireless  OR
  1. When Amazon notifies you that your converted emailed-file is ready for download but you have no WiFi network access, download it to your computer at the manageyourkindle page and then transfer the file to your Kindle by using the USB cable.  In the past we've been able to download it from the link given in the Amazon email-notice that the converted file is ready.

In both cases, you've emailed a personal document file to Amazon for conversion to Kindle format so that it can be on the Kindle.  That sending of the file: 
  1. makes your personal doc eligible for the regular features which include sync'g between devices, archiving on the servers, and
  1. you can choose to download it to the Kindle via WiFi or to your computer via USB cable, specifically designated for your Kindle, as mentioned.

One quick tip: if you are big on reading PDFs, make sure you convert it to the Kindle format if you want to have the benefit of accessing Amazon´s cloud and storing clippings (beware, this conversion will get rid of any special format that the PDF has). If you don´t care that much about saving your notes, or you never do it anyway, just leave the PDF format intact and read it in a landscape mode, It will maintain it´s structure (important with some documents which formatting is crucial).



Friday, October 14, 2011

New Software Update for Kindle Keyboard (Kindle 3)

Like most of us were expecting, a new software update, the 3.3 version,  was released today for the Kindle Keyboard (or Kindle 3 for those used to its old name). We saw this one coming as soon as Amazon launched the kindle 4 with a new software.

But what are we getting from this new update? Let's see what Amazon tell us about the new features included:

Download your archived Personal Documents on Kindle Keyboard: You can now view and download your archived personal documents to your Kindle Keyboard conveniently anywhere at any time. Your personal documents will be stored in your Kindle library until you delete them.
Whispersync for Personal Documents on Kindle Keyboard: Just as with Kindle books, Whispersync automatically synchronizes your last page read, bookmarks and annotations for personal documents (with the exception of PDFs) across the Kindle devices. Learn more about Kindle Personal Document Service on  

AmazonLocal deals on Kindle Keyboard with Special Offers: Kindle Keyboard with Special Offers users in many regions can now view,purchase, and redeem AmazonLocal deals directly from Kindle Keyboard -- no computer, no printer, no hassle. AmazonLocal offers savings up to 75% off products and services from businesses in your city, national chains and online merchants. Learn more about AmazonLocal on  
Voice Guide Shortcut: Kindle Keyboard users can now quickly turn the Voice Guide feature on and off by holding the Shift key and pressing Spacebar. Voice Guide reads aloud menu options, content listings and item descriptions. 

To download and install the new update click here and follow Amazon´s guidelines.

This update makes, IMHO, the Kindle Keyboard even more appealing than it was already with its legacy software. Inf here was any doubt for me wether I liked the Kindle 3 better than the Kindle 4, they´re all gone. Here´s a couple of pictures, one of my Kindle Keyboard updating, the other of how the new menu looks like.

Click images to enlarge

So now, wth this new update, Kindle Keyboard has access to Amazon's cloud, making it super easy to sync all of your books, notes and clippings.

Get in the cloud with your Kindle Keyboard!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kindle Fire: more searches and news than all other Kindles combined

To say that Kindle Fire has gained terrain over it's siblings is an understatement, even though it hasn't been yet released. As we learned last Tuesday, the "Fire" is melting Amazon's lines with 50,000 pre-orders a day, but that's  not the only stat that's being dominated by this new player.

"switch11" from did a great job at analysing this phenomena, and also wonders about the effect of the Kindle Fire 10" (if the rumors that it's gonna be launched by 2012 are true).
Kindle Fire Vs. eInk Kindles
Take a look at this image to see just how dominant Kindle Fire is (in terms of search interest and news coverage)
The Blue line represents Kindle Fire interest. The upper graph is for Internet Searches and the lower graph is for News Articles. You can take a look at it at Google Trends. By the way, the other device that is getting a lot more attention than eInk Kindles (though much less than Kindle Fire) – Nook Color. 
Analyst Estimates and Forecasts are all claiming Kindle Fire is selling more than all other Kindles combined 
While estimates vary, the common thread is that all of them suggest that Amazon is currently selling a lot more Kindle Fires than Kindles.
There’s still the 10″ Kindle Fire 
There are very strong rumors that a 10″ Kindle Fire Tablet will arrive early in 2012. And that too at a low, low price of $299. If the 7″ Kindle by itself is selling more than eInk Kindles, it’s a safe bet to assume that the two Kindle Fire tablets together will dwarf the eInk Kindles in total sales.
Are people going to start associating ‘Kindle’ with the Tablets? 
Probably. If we have a lot more people buying Kindle Fire and a lot more people searching for Kindle Fire and a lot more people asking questions about Kindle Fire – ‘Kindle’ will start being associated with Kindle Fire.

There's no doubt that Kindle Fire is a tablet. What it's still yet to be seen is Amazon's marketing approach for the whole Kindle line. Will they be promoted as two different products, or as "individuals" with different features but with a same lineage?
We'll be able to tell very soon.

Make sure you get your Kindle Fire or Kindle 4 through

Until tomorrow!


Friday, October 7, 2011

First Glimpse of the Kindle Touch: Great for Students!

Although they look very similar, the Kindle Touch appears to be quite a different product when you compare it to the new Kindle "4" (click here to watch yesterday's review). Although I was a bit disappointed with the features on Kindle 4, I must say that the guys at Amazon (well... the guys at Lab 126 to be honest) really put some thought into the new features of the Kindle Touch.

 Just to mention some of them:
  • Move Pages forward or backwards: for the first time in Kindle history this is not done through buttons; you either tap anywhere in the screen to move pages forward, or next to the left or right edges to move them backwards or forward respectively. Also you can swipe your finger through the screen in one or the other direction to serve the same purpose.
  • Pinch in/out will make font smaller or bigger.
  • An improved menu, quite different to what we were used to.
  • Virtual Touch keyboard
  • Search option: this is a cool feature, very useful for finding the locations of concepts, terms or characters.
  • Access to Wikipedia articles with one tap
  • And the coolest new feature, the X-Ray: Allows you to automatically see in a very schematic way the main characters, concepts, phrases or content of a book.
Let's take a first glimpse and see how all of these features look like in this video brought by the people of TechCrunch

It really seem like the Kindle Touch is directed towards more active users. People that need to take notes, research a book thoroughly, look for terms, know what's the backbone of the text right away (thanks to the X-Ray feature), access to Wikipedia immediately, etc.

All of these features makes the Kindle Touch a great option for students -of all ages, those attending school and those who are constantly learning and reading from the computer and the Internet... Kindle is a great way to protect your eyes!

If you are interested in having a Kindle Touch of your own, make sure you get yours directly through 

More to come on Monday.



Thursday, October 6, 2011

Best Kindle 4 Video Review

The guys from Mobile Tech Review did a great job on the Kindle 4th generation review. Remember, this is not the Touch version (see table with all of today's available Kindles) Already a lot of people are calling it "Kindle 4", and it makes sense given the that what we call Kindle Keyboard today was known as the Kindle 3.

Without a doubt, the main benefit to the Kindle 4 is its price: $79. It would have been unthinkable some months ago that you could get such a good piece of technology, with such a valuable use, for just that.

There are two major differences in the Kindle 4 when you compare it with its predecessor:

  • Lack of a physical keyboard, you need to use the 5 way controller to select each character from the display (not being a touch device you'll have a hard time typing notes)
  • Does not support audio (so forget about the TTS or the MP3 capabilities you got with the Kindle 3)

But let's see it more in detail in this very good review that Lisa, from Mobile Tech Review brings us:

Once again, price wise: Awesome for what you get. But a bit on the downside, being a newer generation and having less features, as important as the audio and the ability to type in a comfortable fashion, is somewhat disappointing.

As always, it's just a matter of taste. Personally? I'm in love with my Kindle 3. But I must say I'm a big note writer, so the keyboard is a must for me. Plus you still get a very good price if you buy the Special Offers option.

As usual, if you are planning on getting either of these beauties, I recommend you do it through

Until tomorrow,


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What are competitors already saying about Kindle Fire?

What will the market for Android tablets be like once the Kindle Fire starts shipping on November 15th? Jerry Shen, CEO of ASUS, doesn't seem to care that much. Although his company produces the EeePad Transformer, considered one of the best Android tablets so far, he seems to acknowledge some sort of differentiatiation between both products, as we read on

Today, we received some good news relating to the Transformer 2 directly from the CEO of ASUS. He clearly said that they are not scared of the new Kindle Fire, which was recently announced by Amazon as a cheap Android tablet, and that they are not planning to slash the price of the Transformer to compete with the Fire. The Transformer is currently available for $399 and ASUS has stated that they are happy with the tablet feedback they received thus far. Shen also spilled the beans about the Transformer 2 and that it will cost $499, which is $100 more than the original. Seriously, I think it's a fair deal because the Transformer 2 is expected to come with a quad-core processor, Ice Cream Sandwich, 10-inch touchscreen display, and a lot of other stuff. 

Positioning the Transformer and Transformer 2 as high end products could be a way to avoid the freight train momentum that Kindle Fire is building. Time will tell if Shen's take on this is accurate. For what we know both products could very well be two different tunes of a same concert, but there's no doubt that there will be an overlap on the demand for these beauties, and I would bet Kindle Fire's gonna win that round.

If you don't want to stay out of Kindle's color revolution, pre-order your Fire through

More to come tomorrow,