Posts Tagged With: book

How to Convert eBooks using Calibre

There are many places you can convert various formats to ePub online for free.  I have not actually used any so I can’t vouch for the quality or efficiency of said sites.  In any case, I prefer to be able to convert regardless of whether I have an internet connection.  So I use Calibre to convert all my eBooks to ePub format. 

As I mentioned in a previous post, Calibre is free eBook/eReader software which can convert many eBook formats into ePub.  You can read more about Calibre in my post here.  Although I have not tested it, I know that it also has the function to convert the other way.  But it’s worth mentioning that this function is available.  The official list of convertible formats is as follows: Continue reading

Categories: Calibre (eReader software), e-Books & e-Readers, e-Readers, e-Reading Software, Kobo Touch | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free eReader Software: Calibre

My Kobo Touch did come with the designated Kobo software – Kobo Desktop. It wasn’t particularly bad software, but I prefer to use something which has a few more features.  Plus a few of the free ebooks I downloaded from non Kobo sites like Gutenberg were rejected by it.  So I use an excellent free alternative – Calibre.

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Calibre is a free and open source e-book library management application developed by users of e-books for users of e-books.

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Calibre is a bit like a library for your e-Books.  You can enter various information about them, including, author, title, rating, your description, etc. and sort accordingly.  You can move your e-books to and from your e-Reader to your computer.  I prefer to edit all the information about my eBooks using Caibre rather than editing them on my Kobo.  It is also much faster to edit in bulk , for example, as you can see below, some Sherlock Holmes eBooks list the author as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and some as just Arthur Conan Doyle.  Calibre allows you to edit them all to have the same author name which makes them easier to locate on your Kobo. Continue reading

Categories: Calibre (eReader software), e-Books & e-Readers, e-Readers, e-Reading Software, Free Software, Kobo Touch | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Read Japanese (and other non Latin based alphabets) on a Kobo

Recently I was asked by my Dad to test whether a Japanese eBook would work on my Kobo Touch. He said he saw various online sites which confirmed it was possible to display Japanese as long as you had the right fonts installed. So I had a look at one of the sites. Here’s the link:

http://atouchofkobo.wordpress.com/2011/08/28/260/

The font on this site is a version of Unicode developed by GNU.  It is therefore free and opensource.  The idea of Unicode is to provide a unique number to every individual character regardless of platform, program or language.

Unicode is developed by a non-profit organisation and is supported by many major companies, including Apple and Microsoft. You can read more about it here

Anyway, the GNU Unifont can be downloaded from the developer’s site here

or from the site listed earlier on which the author has kindly provided their own link.

I can confirm that this unicode font does work with Japanese.  I also tested it with a few other random languages and I can confirm that it works with Chinese (which I can’t read properly but I can recognise the characters) and displays Hebrew (which I can’t read at all).

So for anyone who wants to get this working on their Kobo, here’s a quick guide. Continue reading

Categories: e-Books & e-Readers, e-Readers, Kobo Touch | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

e-Books: The search for free books online

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough

or a book long enough to suit me.”

– C.S. Lewis

Although I am now converted to the use of an e-Reader I do not like to pay for e-Books. Or rather, I REFUSE to pay for books that I already own in non e-Book form. I feel that if I have paid 6.99 or 8.99, or in many cases much much more (some hardbacks are so overpriced!!), and therefore physically own the real thing I should not have to then pay AGAIN for the e-Book.  I mean I have so many different copies of Lord of the Rings (anniversary editions, one complete book editions, rare editions, film editions, the list goes on…), I don’t think I should have to pay for the same words again unless it has been updated or has a different introduction or includes a new map -HA! most eBooks don’t seem to cope well with pictures- or something else that involves me receiving new materical that I don’t own on paper.

This is the equivalent of buying a CD and then being told you have to pay for mp3 versions of the tracks in order to listen to them on your iPod.

Which is Ridiculous!!! 

So I use sites which offer free e-Books.  These are free to download, usually in a variety of formats.  The only drawback is that you often have to trawl through to find exactly what you are looking for.  But as with all things I never look a free gift horse in the mouth (never really understood that phrase). So I thought I’d list up some of the places I download e-books for free.

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1.)  Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is the number one place for free books in my opinion.  Considering Amazon gets a lot of its e-Books from PG it saves a lot of hassle just getting them straight from the website. 

Because of the sheer number of files available for one title it can be difficult to find exactly what you are looking for.  I will demonstrate by searching for The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

If you type “Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” into the search it lists all files associated with this title.  This includes audio books (mp3s) and single stories and so it can take quite a long time to find what you are looking for.

It is much easier to browse the Catalogue and find your book from there.

From there you can browse by Author, Title, Language or Recently Posted.  I prefer to search by author.  So I choose “D” for Doyle.  Then scroll down to Arthur Conan Doyle.  Obviously there’s still a fairly lengthy list.  But at least it’s clear and manageable now. 


So if I want this as an ePub or pdf or any other written format I choose the link with the book symbol next to it and then download whichever format I want (I always choose ePub if I can get it).

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2.) MobileRead

MobileRead is a forum where people upload books.  It is more limited in many ways than PG but you can often find obscure books here which are not listed on PG.

With this website you can search for a title or author using the search and then narrow your search by format and genre.  Clicking on the link will take you to a post where you can download the book.  It does warn you about legal/illegal downloads but I feel that if I already own, for example, 2 paperback copies of Pride and Prejudice (yes, one is mine and one is a written-off damaged copy – perks of working in a bookshop),  then I am not illegally downloading it in written format. 

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3.) ManyBooks.net

ManyBooks.net is another good site for books.  I find this site has the best and easiest search tool.  Although again not always as many files available as PG.  This is a great site for just browsing for something new as it has a large number of genre options including some which are not available on PG.  It also has a very good range of formats available for download.  The layout and interface are both really aesthetically pleasing: clean, simple and easy to use.  Navigation of the site is very straightforward and self explanatory.

The  Advanced Search is extremely specific and useful even if you don’t have all the information about the book you are looking for.  Each book has a page with detailed information so you can check it’s the one you want.  You can also read an excerpt and choose the specific format you wish to download.  For example, here’s the page for Edward Lear’s Book of Nonsense.

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4.) Internet Archive (Archive.org)

This is a really big archive of online texts which I found while looking for a specific copy of The Count of Monte Cristo. Still haven’t found it but I’ll keep looking. 

Anyway, this site searches the web for the eBook you are looking for.  It can access all sorts of pages like Google Books and so on and then allows you to download the files in several formats.  The search is pretty extensive so you have to narrow your search using specific key words.

The Advanced Search is EXTREMELY advanced.  I don’t really understand half the shorthand items you can search by.  But I can understand the basic ones.  You can either use the Advanced Search, which adds all the terms for you, or you can type them.  For example, if I want to search for The Count of Monte Cristo published by Little, Brown & Co. I would type:

title:(count of monte cristo) AND publisher:(little, brown)

However, this would bring up lots of results so I add and minus keywords which I know are likely. So, in this case, I can minus likely title keywords such as “works”, because I don’t want an omnibus, and I can add the author so that sequels written by other people are excluded.

title:(count of monte cristo) AND publisher:(little, brown) AND -title:(works) AND creator:(alexandre dumas)

When you find the text you are looking for you have several format options for downloading. You can also read the book online for free and check it is the one you want. This is INCREDIBLY useful if you want a specific publication.

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5.) BookOS (Now Bookzz)

 Book OS is my new favourite for eBooks.  The range of genres is so huge you can find almost anything.  I kid you not!!!  This is the ultimate free book paradise, so much so that I was surprised I hadn’t seen it on other sites.  It has everything from non fiction, such as art and architecture or reference, to fiction.  As with the other sites there are options for various languages.  The layout and interface are, if possible, even cleaner and simpler than ManyBooks!!  And it is extremely simple to use. 

When searching you can either use the main search which searches the whole site. Or you can browse by genre/category by clicking on the Books tab in the top right corner. If you know exactly what you want you can click the Exact Matching box.

 So for example, if I am looking for an exact translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses I can click the Exact Matching box and type:

Ovid Metamorphoses “Translator’s Name”

and it really will only produce results that match this exactly.  None of this typing-lots-of-ANDs-in-between business.  Just straightforward efficient searching.  Wonderful! 

One thing to be careful of is that unless you specify your language in the search, it will search for all languages.  These are marked on the side of each search result as are the size and the native format of the file.

With every file you have the option to download in another eBook format.  However, it warns you that the quality may not be as good as that of the original file.  I haven’t tried downloading any of the non-original formats so I can’t report on them but the original files have been fantastic quality.

This website is now called BookZZ.  Here’s a link –

http://bookzz.org/

Categories: e-Books & e-Readers, Free e-Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sherlock: A Study in Pink

“‘Do you include violin playing in your category of rows?’ he asked, anxiously.”

– A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The new Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Dr Watson (Martin Freeman)

As a devoted admirer and fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series, I was naturally sceptical of a modernisation.  Particularly after seeing the attempt at a Sherlock Holmes film in 2009, where the adaptation of such fantastic literature produced a horrific failure which did not even remotely approach a decent or watchable film.  Casting Jude Law as Watson and Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler were some of the most shocking mis-castings in the long shameful history of mis-casting.

However, such spectacular failure to do justice to the original is often encountered when film-makers and television producers attempt to adapt or modernise a brilliant and classic piece of literature.  Hence, I approached the first episode with a mixture of apprehension, curiosity, and a general raising of eyebrows.  Imagine then my surprise at finding the series not only watchable, but also interesting, well-cast and entirely enjoyable!

Traitor!  I hear you Sherlock Holmes devotees shout.  But it’s not so!  And this is why.

1.  Sherlock Holmes has been cast very well.

He (Benedict Cumberbatch) is tall and lean, just like Conan Doyle created him: “In height he was rather over six feet, and so excessively lean that he seemed to be considerably taller.”  Moreover, he is excellently played by Cumberbatch as an arrogant, insensitive genius who loves knowing that his intellect is far superior to that of everyone around him.  We aren’t meant to like Sherlock Holmes for being a kind gentle character, or having strong morals, or being interested in the common good, because he neither is nor has any of the above.  On the contrary, he is often quite the opposite; a rather smug eccentric who is always right, and worse, always knows he is.  But we respect and admire his talents and admit to his having a superior intellect and incredible methods of deduction.

Aside: I actually love that Sherlock Holmes is so blunt and insensitive.  It means that on some levels we can know what he is thinking and I admire someone who isn’t afraid to say what they think or believe.  I suppose it helps when you are always right.

2.  Dr John Watson has, again, been cast well.

Martin Freeman provides an excellent rendition of Watson, suitably sceptical of Sherlock at first, but gradually converted, hearing the incredible methods of deduction, to astonishment, wonder, and admiration.  Just like the character in the book.  Marvellous!

Aside: I think it helps that Martin Freeman is easily recognisable as Arthur Dent from the film adaptation of The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  Not a very good film but the character is one who, in essence, has a lot in common with Dr Watson.  Mainly I suppose, that both of them are ordinary people who meet extraordinary people and their relatively normal worlds are turned into worlds of astonishing and exciting adventure.

3.  Many parts of the episode are easily recognisable as adapted straight from the book.

The conversation about flatmates and their vices.  The place the crucial murder takes place; “‘Lauriston Gardens, off the Brixton Road'” is straight from the text, as is the debate between “Rachel” and “Rache”, the direct quote being, “‘Rache’ is the German for ‘revenge'”.  There is the mobile phone scene which is an updated version of the Sign of Four scene in which Watson gives Sherlock Holmes a watch to test his abilities.  Sherlock’s rise in Watson’s estimation is shown the same way in both series and novel, by Watson’s praising “‘Wonderful!'”  and Sherlock’s expression giving away that he was pleased by Watson’s “evident surprise and admiration”.  And of course the notable first meeting comment, “‘You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.'”

4.  Finally, the comedy element.

There is an element of the humourous in all the Sherlock Holmes novels, which has been superbly adapted into the series.  My favourite quotes from the first episode are probably:

Watson:  That was ridiculous.  That was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever done.

Sherlock:  And you invaded Afghanistan.

and:

Sherlock:  Shut up, everybody!  Shut up!  Don’t move, don’t speak, don’t breathe!  I’m trying to think!  Anderson, face the other way you’re putting me off!

Anderson:  What?  My face is?

Ah, the wonderful witty intellectual talent.  It could really only be Sherlock Holmes.

So yes, it is a modernisation of classic literature, and no, Sherlock is not exactly the man of the book.  But he is a good and decent adaptation of the character, who does possess elements of the genius that is Sherlock Holmes.  This, the main characters being cast well, and the producers realising that it would be sheer idiocy not to refer to the text, have all come together to make this really work.  So well done on the first episode, and keep up the good work.

Categories: Sherlock, Sherlock Holmes, TV Series | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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