One site is HarperCollins.com. They are offering a free service where every month they will profile a few novels and non fiction books that can be read entirely online through your computer or I Phone.
This month the entire contents of the following books are available to read in their entirety:
- “The Witch of Portobello” by Mr. Coelho
- “Mission: Cook! My Life, My Recipes and Making the Impossible Easy” by Mr. Irvine
- “I Dream in Blue: Life, Death and the New York Giants” by Roger Director
- “The Undecided Voter’s Guide to the Next President: Who the Candidates Are, Where They Come from and How You Can Choose” by Mark Halperin
- “Warriors: Into the Wild” the first volume in a children’s series by Erin Hunter.
This was done in an effort by Hapers Collins to increase book sales, and although the entire book will online for a month, it will not be available for download or be able to be printed off the computer, or to be read through an electronic reader such as Amazon's Kindle Reader, but there will be a direct link to order the book from Amazon.com, among other book seller web sites.
This new feature is very similar to the "browse inside" feature that Amazon and Harper Collins has been offering for sometime to promote their books, but now instead of just a few pages to view, the entire book is available.
In a New York Times article, Jane Friedman, the chief executive of HarpersCollins Worldwide said: “The best way to sell books is to have the consumer be able to read some of that content.” She also doubted that readers would read the entire book online, but HarpersCollins would track whether the editions actually helped increase sales.
Another free online book service is located on the Open Access Text Archive of Open Source Books on The Internet Archive.
The Internet Archive is a non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library, with the purpose of offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format. It has an amazing collection of texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages in their collections.
I spent hours this weekend browsing and reading on this fascinating web site. Most of the books are old and copyright free. I used the "flip book" selection to read which is similar to the "browse inside" technology that Amazon uses, but there are other formats with which you can choose to read the book you select from the site's vast collection.
They also have a blog that highlights new collections and interesting items from the Movies, Audio, and Education collections.
Be warned --- if you enjoy old books and films you will find this web site addicting! Happy exploring!