The physicist Leo Szilard once announced to his friend Hans Bethe that he was thinking of keeping a diary: "I don't intend to publish. I am merely going to record the facts for the information of God." "Don't you think God knows the facts?" Bethe asked. "Yes," said Szilard. "He knows the facts, but He does not know this version of the facts."
-Hans Christian von Baeyer, Taming the Atom
I love eBooks, even if they're Microsoft eBooks, which they're now giving away as a promotion:
Every week during the summer, Microsoft will release three new eBooks as a free download - in addition, a new version of Microsoft Reader with enhanced security is now available.
This week Microsoft begins a 20-week promotion on Microsoft Reader eBooks, designed for the summer vacation season. Every week, three new books will be released as a free download, totalling sixty titles in all. Participating writers include Bill Bryson and Amy Tan.
These new titles accompany a new version of Microsoft Reader, with enhanced security and what Microsoft claim is a simpler installation and activation process. This version is required to participate in the promotion.
The growing catalogue of Reader eBooks now totals more than 20,000, and Microsoft intend to publicise this further with the help of Fictionwise, a leading eBook retailer, in a joint weekly newsletter.
I don't have any sort of Microsoft handheld device, so I'm stuck reading the books on my laptop, but this is still pretty cool. I just downloaed Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" from which that top quote was taken from (retyped of course, since you can't copy/paste from a close eBook.) It'll be fun to go through it - too bad my machine's not a tablet!
I think I prefer Adobe's eBook reader more, but MS's attempt isn't bad. Too bad there's not a hack to get these books on my Symbian phone. Hey - I'll *pay* for the books. I don't care, just get them onto a non-Microsoft device. (Look at this paragraph. Adobe and Microsoft. Sheeesh. It's like picking from the 7th or 8th level of Hell.)
Oh well, free eBooks! I really need to do a summary of the eBook sites I've found. I'd *love it* if I never had to flip a page again to read a novel or technical book again in my life.