Back in January when I bought my ereader, I had doubts whether I would be able to find enough quality content to read on it, given that I don’t buy DRM which still dominates the market. By now I have found enough sources; in fact, I am not quite able to read it all. Here is what I have been reading, in arbitrary order.
- Baen Ebooks sell DRM-free ebooks from multiple publishers.
- Lightspeed Magazine is a digital science-fiction & fantasy fanzine. Every month, they release a thick bundle (about 250 pages on my reader) of short stories, novel excerpts and author interviews. Parts are available on their website for free so you can get a taste. At $24 a year, this is a bargain.
- Smashwords is an independent webstore for self-publishing authors and indie publishers. Their prices are reasonable and they have decent content.
- Dito, electronic formats shop of one of the largest Swedish booksellers. They don’t use DRM but watermark their files.
- Tor Books, one of the United States’ largest science fiction and fantasy publisher, announced earlier this year that they would drop DRM. All their titles are available DRM-free from major retailers by now. Their own store is yet to go online.
- Baen Ebooks has a free library.
- Smashwords has many free titles; it is common for authors to give away extended prologues or even first volumes of series.
- The Firefox plugin GrabMyBooks allows you to pack any web content as EPUB ebook. I regularly do so with CACM and Flash Fiction Online.
- There are some books floating around the open source community. For example, I discovered Pro Git recently.
- Project Gutenberg offers English classics that have entered the public domain in multiple formats.
- Gutenberg DE is the German version. Sadly, there are no downloads, but you can grab the text.
- Project Runeberg is the Swedish version of Project Gutenberg. They have download as plain text and HTML which is easy to convert.
Over these last year or so, EPUB has been entering more and more publishing heads. I am particularly excited about Tor’s move to drop DRM; huge amounts of science fiction and fantasy are viable in electronic form now. Tor has a nerdy audience (both readers and authors) so maybe they felt more pressure than other publishers; let’s just hope that their example catches on.
Once tools for creating EPUB books become better, it will be increasingly simple to offer ebook versions of your content, be it fiction book, scientific article or tech tutorial. In my opinion, the phase of early adopters is past: with the spread of EPUB, ebooks have left the confines of big publishing houses behind and become a medium of the crowd.