ebooks, ibooks, gbooks

google book search

So I go to Google's Book Search and type in "naked little girl brutalized by muslims" but get no matches. Well that only proves to me that Google has not yet digitized the University of Pakistan Library with its vast collection of Qur'ans and back issues of "White Infidel Slaves of America".

OK, seriously, put in muslim conquests and we get back 128 very interesting entries including the fascinating "The Jew, the Gypsy and El Islam" (1898) by Sir Richard Francis Burton, along with index and 356 PDF pages of the entire book and links to online stores to buy the real book. Click on the free download button; for me the 16.4 MB edition took less than a minute and a half to download on my cable Internet connection. Wow! It would take longer than that to put my shoes, hat and coat on to take a trip to the library. I can't wait for someone to invent a foldable paper-like screen so I can read it like a book on the train.

Sadly, though, future generations will miss the joy of scrounging around old bookstores and riffling through pages, feeling the leather of the cover and bindings, and finding some bit of text that introduces you to an author you might never have read before. There is an indescribable bliss to reading an old book, a cup of tea in your hand, listening to the rustle of ancient pages as you turn. Back in 1957 at the age of twelve, I discovered the greatest incentive to book reading, Classics Illustrated. Whenever I finished a comic, I would then go to the library to read the original book. If I liked the book enough I would take a 35 cent ride to New York, and buy a used copy in one of the hundreds of used book stores in lower Manhattan. One of the first books I bought was a 1916 edition of W.H. Hudson's "The Green Mansions" which cost me 30 cents, about twice the price of the Classics Illustrated version. Green Mansions was one of the first books to make me cry. I still have the book on my shelf. I'm holding it in my hands now. Who will miss you when I'm gone old friend?

Just as VHS tapes caused a panic among movie studios, there are book publishers who are afraid digitizing their books will kill their business. Google has two messages for them:
1) they're wrong;
2) Google Book Search is the solution, not the problem.

Times Online -Could this be the final chapter in the life of the book?, Excerpt: The world's libraries are heading for the Internet, says Bryan Appleyard. If this means we lose touch with real books and treat their content as 'information', civilisation is the loser.

From iTWire - A new 'iBook' from Google?: be afraid, be very afraid, Excerpt:

Google is plotting to do for books what the iPod has done for music: make them purchasable by download to a portable access device. Could civilisation as we know it be under threat?

The UK's Times newspaper reported that "Google is working on a system that would allow readers to download entire books to their computers in a format that they could read on screen or on mobile devices such as a Blackberry."


Sunday Times - Google plots e-books coup, Excerpt: Sony recently launched its Reader, a digital book device with an online book store stocking 10,000 titles. Amazon, the world’s largest online book seller, is also planning to launch an e-book service.

Techwhack - University of Texas library in Austin joins Google Book Search project, Excerpt:

The company would now digitize more than one million written works available at the university. This content would be made available for search on their Book Search web service.

Google said that the works being digitized from this library include rare books and manuscripts from early Latin American history.


Guide to Binding Your Own Paperback Books At Home, Excerpt: I’ll show you a quick and dirty book binding technique you can use to turn your ebook into a real book with about 5 minutes worth of effort.

Reading an ebook is like having a seascape screensaver instead of a real aquarium. A Newbie's Guide to Publishing is giving out his ebooks for free to see what happens.

There are 20,000 free books in the Project Gutenberg Online Book Catalog.

### End of my article ###

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