While the various eReader companies battle it out, you may be thinking about scooping up a deal on one. You may be surprised to find out that while eReaders are coming down in price and up in features, eBooks are actually not. There is quite a bit of controversy stirring about the cost of eBooks. This article from Macworld outlines some of it. do a quick search on Google for “Amazon 9.99” and you can see a lot of people are not happy about paying $14+ for an eBook.
I have a real problem with paying more than $10 for an eBook. I have a problem with paying as much as a paperback for books that have been out a while. I know that publishers need to recoup their investments, but there should be some noticeable discount for those who forgo the actually paper and ink. I have only bought one eBook, and paid $9.99 for it. I would have bought more but, I won’t spend more than it costs to buy the actual book.
Luckily for those of us who read and want the convenience of an eBook without the cost, there are ways to get access to books for free. Both Kindle and iBooks offer titles that are free, and that’s a great place to start. You can read a ton of classics and a few newer novels downloaded direct from your choice of supplier. You can also find some web sites out there with DRM-free ePub books available for free download.
Loading these books can be easily done on most eReaders. For the iOS user, simply connect your device, in iTunes select the App tab, and then scroll down to section file transfer section. Pick your app and your book and then sync.
That is great, but you may be like me, and looking for some more recent titles. Check your local library. Many offer digital copies of books to check out. The accomplish this by using Adobe Digital Editions to handle the loan period. This allows you to download a DRM protected copies of an eBook for free reading. On your computer or a device or app that supports Digital Editions. You cannot just take the file and read it, because of the DRM. That is what allows libraries to let us read them for free. In just a few weeks, the copies disappear off our Adobe library.
It took me a little while to find an app for the iPad and iPhone that supported Adobe Digital Editons, but Bluefire does, and it’s free. It will allow you to buy books in the app from several sources, most notably Book A Million. But the app really shines in that you can authorize it to access your Adobe Digital Editions.
My library allows me to check out up to 20 eBooks for 21 days. I currently have about 6 out, and have loaded them onto my iOS devices running Bluefire. Use the same method of loading them into Bluefire that you use to load DRM-free epub books. The interface with Bluefire isn’t as nice as Kindle or iBooks, but it is perfectly readable. My only complaint is that the app seems to really drain battery life.
As long as eBooks are available from the library I will be checking them out. If prices come down for purchasing eBooks I will be more likely to buy them. Until then I will keep looking for free books.