Free books conundrum

I just downloaded my second free ebook — Beautiful Children: A novel by Charles Bock — in the past two weeks.

First, Oprah viewers were offered, for a few scant hours, a free PDF download of Suze Orman’s 274-page Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny a couple weeks ago. I don’t necessarily think I need to read the book, but I rarely turn down a free book. I had previously seen Orman on PBS a few times.

Second, Random House is making available now, through midnight Friday, a free PDF download of the Beautiful Children, which weighs in at 434 pages. You can get the download — it was remarkably speedy on my connection — here; it’s also available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powells.

On to the conundrum: How do I read these books? I’ll at least probably read the novel at some point.

Note: I haven’t read them (or anything else by their authors), and thus can’t personally recommend them. For what it’s worth, The Elegant Variation, a literary blog in my feed reader, really likes Beautiful Children.

Oh, right, that quandary. I don’t really want to read that much content — particularly a novel — on screen. I enjoy my laptop, but I don’t think it would be the same. And yet I also don’t really want to print out that many pages (at least partially because my machine is not hooked up to a printer).

If this becomes a serious way of distributing book content and not just a publicity stunt, I’d like to see the book pages presented via Live Ink or something similar, for readability. [The Live Ink site has a demo of Moby Dick. The pages look appealingly short. Maybe I could finally make it through that classic in that format!] I realize that since such a solution costs money, it will never be used while free ebooks remain largely publicity stunts.

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One response to “Free books conundrum

  1. Pingback: Book authors group: People will stop writing « Word Lily

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