No new free promotional books specifically in the Kindle Store today, so let’s pause and consider that the Kindle is the best way to read millions of other free books:
- It’s hard to hit a moving target, although most gamekids know that it can be lots of fun trying. But that notion describes the feeling I have whenever I try to discuss or think about Google Books (or you can call it Google Editions, Google’s Library Project, gBooks, or any of numerous other names). Google has been announcing and leaking and sharing the advent of this project in various ways for the past six years or so, and in the past couple of days we have another wave of buzz about what some are calling a launch date (pardon me for being resistant to the notion that “June or July” is a “date,” especially when Google has trained us so well to shelve its timetables in the Fiction section) for Google Editions, which will make over 12 million ebooks (and/or other texts and periodicals and files, mostly scanned into the cloud) available to everyone in the universe (and probably beyond) in device-agnostic presentation. I am impressed, believe me: 12 million is a lot of ebooks, about 25 times the number currently in the Kindle Store and probably 100 to 200 times the number in the iBooks Store. I suspect that by the time of launch the planet’s #1 search company will find ways to make the entire enterprise more helpful for those of us who actually want to find and read specific books or books on specific subjects, but for now I’ll just say that thanks to Google and others there are millions of these titles already available to Kindle owners (and owners of iPads, iPhones, PCs, Macs, and other hardware) both at Google Books and at the Internet Archive, and millions of them are free.
- Speaking of the Internet Archive, the number of free Kindle-compatible ebooks there has continued to grow dramatically since we posted this “how-to” piece — Free Today to Download to Your Kindle or Kindle for PC Within Seconds: OVER A MILLION BOOKS FROM THE INTERNET ARCHIVE — a few months ago, and is now over 2 million. And just yesterday the Internet Archive announced that over a million digital texts — from classic 19th century fiction and current novels to technical guides and research materials — are now available in specially designed formatting to support those who are blind, dyslexic or are otherwise visually impaired. “To access all books,” the organization said, “a United States resident with print disabilities must register with the Library of Congress http://www.loc.gov/nls/signup.html.”
- Just how explosive is the growth of digital content and information in the present and future? We can speak the words — “this year, the ‘Digital Universe,’ the total amount of data stored in the world’s computers, will surpass a zettabyte. One zettabyte is equal to a million million gigabytes” — but that does not even begin to bring us close to getting our heads around the reality. That’s one take-away from this Softpedia piece, which concludes: “What’s even more interesting, the number of files or containers housing and transporting data will grow even faster than the amount of data created. By 2020, they will see a 67-time increase from 2009. As more and more devices are becoming more interconnected, sharing and storing more data, the complexity of the Digital Universe will increase exponentially.”