Keep calm!

Read an e-book week starts today, 4th March. It isn’t mandatory – you don’t have to read an e-book if you don’t want to, so no need to panic if the thought frightens or disgusts you. Just read a paper book instead. Or a magazine or something. Or you could knit, paint, garden, stargaze, tidy your garage – anything you like, actually.

Read an E-book is an invitation, not an order. Don’t overreact.You are not being tracked by Google. Big Brother, the CIA or any sinister organisation checking up on your activities during the week and noting whether or not you are indeed reading an e-book. Just go about your life in the usual way.

You are being watched! Image: wikipedia

On the other hand, if you haven’t ever read an e-book and think you might like to, or really ought to just to prove to yourself that you don’t like them, what should you do next?

If you have a computer in some shape or form, or a smartphone – presumably you do otherwise how would you be reading this? – you can download the Kindle reading app from Amazon. It’s quick and easy to download and install and enables you to buy, or download free e-books from Amazon.

If that seems too much faffing about, or you hate Amazon, then here is a truly wonderful site: Apart from describing the various gizmos you can buy, it also explains the free software programs you can download for reading e-books if you don’t want to buy a gizmo. And there are dozens of books completely free to download from authors like Thomas Hardy, W Somerset Maugham, Charles Dickens, Edith Wharton, Rudyard Kipling – have a look here to see if there’s anything you fancy:

If you don’t have a smartphone or iPod touch, the simplest no risk route, IMVHO, to try out the e-reading experience is to download Adobe Digital Editions to your computer. Then go to the epubbooks site, find a title, click the download button, and once the file has downloaded – it takes just a few seconds – click on the file and it will automatically open in Adobe Digital Editions and you’ll be able to start reading. Reading an e-book on a computer isn’t going to convince you to love e-books. It’s not the best way to read one. But it does offer a glimpse into the world of digital books, the ease and speed of acquiring them and the pleasure of having every classic book ever written available at the click of a button – for free. Many best sellers also appear free from time to time on Amazon. I’m afraid none of mine do at the moment – but they will occasionally. 😉

If you have a smartphone or iPod touch, then Calibre is an outstanding piece of software that will bring you the best e-reading experience outside of a dedicated e-reader. It is quick and easy to download and install, and can read digital books in a wide variety of formats. It includes links to dozens of sites offering e-books, both paid and free.



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