Now, I’m no stranger to ebooks. Long before the release of the first generation Amazon Kindle, I read Dracula on a Handspring Visor. Once I moved into the world of smart-phones with the Palm Treo, I read many great books with the excellent offline reader Plucker. In fact, I’ve been dissing paper quite vocally since as early as 1999. That said, I love reading on my Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch.
A world without paper is not one without flaws. I’ll start by saying that I am not a book pirate and I have purchased over 50 books from the Barnes and Noble store over the past 2 years. Two of those books were The Time Machine and The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells. I enjoyed both thoroughly though after reading I was left with thoughts such as “why did I pay for works in the public domain” and “I’d pay $6.99 for both of these if they were new, but they aren’t”. I got that same itch a few days ago when I almost pulled the trigger on a Barnes & Noble edition of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot. Suddenly I remembered Project Gutenberg.
If you’re a copyright expert like me (yeah, right), then you know that when an author has been dead for a while their copyrighted works become works of the public domain. Project Gutenberg attempts to catalog everything in the public domain and even offers some audio-books! Now, how do you get these onto your Nook or Kindle?
Calibre: Manage Your Books Like Your Music
Calibre, in many ways is not not the future, and softwares like this will never proliferated in the cloud that we are all living in. What it does achieve is freedom. As I said above, I’ve purchased 50 ebooks from Barnes & Noble. Everytime I make a purchasse from them I do nothing but support DRM and what I like to call the “permanent rental”. Calibre allows me to take any format ebook and transfer it a many different readers. Maybe you have an Amazon Kindle and the book that you want to read is of the .epub variety. Calibre will convert the file into something the Kindle can manage.
Now I’d like to show you how easy it is to download a book from Project Gutenberg– in this case The Idiot– and transfer it to the Nook. If you have a Kindle, the process is no different, I’m sure.
I’m assuming that you have installed Calibre by now, since it is available for Mac, Windows & Linux. Everyone can play! So, open it up and let’s go…
First, click on “Add Books”.
Now, select the book that you downloaded from Project Gutenberg.
Great! Now you’ve added your first book to Calibre. Now, plug in your device. In this case, a Nook Simple Touch. Once you do, Calibre will detect the device. You’ll get an icon that looks like this…
This book didn’t come with a cover. I want to make it look nice amongst by other ebooks on the Nook, so I’ll add a cover. For this purpose, I found a rather nice looking one on Google image search.
Right-click on the title in your library and select “Show Book Details”. You’ll get a window that looks like the one below. All you have to do here is simply drag the picture you downloaded inside the book cover portion of the window.
There is only one step left. Close this window and from your catalog, highlight the book that you want to send to the device and then simply click “Send To Device”. If your book is in a format that is different from what device supports, Calibre with automatically convert the file for you.