I enjoy reading both non-fiction and fiction paper-based books, but ebooks continue to “grow” on me because of their accessibility, portability, and convenience. Today during my Tuesday morning men’s group meeting, I learned about the book “Natural Theology” by William Paley which was published in the 1700s. I knew it had to be in the public domain since it was so old, and figured I could download it for free from Project Gutenberg. (Project Gutenberg now has over 33,000 public domain ebooks available for free download!) My initial search for it, however, brought up a commercial version for sale on Amazon.com for a little over $7.00. Interestingly, a paperback version is also for sale on Amazon for $25. In addition, a FREE Kindle version of the same book is available from Amazon under the title, “Evidence of Christianity.” So many different versions and prices!
It is perfectly legal for anyone to sell a copy of a public domain book, either by itself or as part of an anthology. With works like this, however, it’s a good idea to search for other sources. Sure enough, I found a free copy of this book in the “Ebook and Texts Archive” section of the Internet Archive, as part of the collection maintained by Princeton Theological Seminary.
In the past, I’ve purchased or downloaded all the books I’ve read on my Kindle for iPad application directly from Amazon.com. (See my 11 Jan 2011 post, “Free Project Gutenberg eBooks Download Directly to Kindle for iPad,” for more information about downloading SOME of the free ebooks from Project Gutenberg which are currently indexed by Amazon.) In this case, however, I needed to download an ebook from a site OTHER than Amazon.com. I was curious to figure out how to do this, AND to learn if books I DON’T download from Amazon will still “sync” across my different Kindle applications. (They don’t… read on!)
The easiest way to open a Kindle version of a free ebook on an iPad (which is in .mobi or “Mobipocket” format) is to directly open the link in the iPad’s Safari web browser.
After clicking on the link to the .mobi version, you should be prompted to open the file in Kindle for iPad as long as you already have the application installed.
The book should open immediately in the Kindle iOS app, and be available in your iPad’s “HOME” menu as well.
Unfortunately, ebooks you download directly to your iPad this way from websites OTHER THAN Amazon.com will NOT synchronize across the different devices you use to read Kindle ebooks. This is a major benefit of downloading your ebooks directly from Amazon: They remain hosted and available for re-download to any of your devices from the Amazon ‘cloud.”
It’s possible to use the desktop version of the Kindle application (I use Kindle for Mac) and add downloaded ebooks there which you want to read.
Unfortunately, as I previously mentioned, any books you load this way will NOT automatically show up and be available on your iPad or other Kindle-compatible devices. That only works for content you buy and download directly from Amazon.com. The path to save Kindle ebooks on a Mac is, by default:
- Your user folder
— Application Support
—– My Kindle Content
Although I’m disappointed Kindle ebooks downloaded from non-Amazon.com websites can’t be automatically synced across platforms, I understand this from Amazon’s business standpoint. Because of this, in the future whenever possible I’ll download my free Kindle ebooks directly from Amazon.com so they become part of our family “ebook archive.” (This works because we all use a common/shared Amazon account.) For books out of copyright like “Natural Theology,” however, it makes the most sense to obtain FREE versions rather than pay a publisher on Amazon. The lack of an available sync across Kindle-devices is a small price to pay for a FREE ebook!
Hat tip to Del Tackett for mentioning “Natural Theology” in DVD Part 5A of “The Truth Project.” Over the past few years I’ve posted some notes about “The Truth Project” videos over on the Eyes Right blog.
For more tips and great resource sites related to ebooks, see my 11 May 2011 post, “eBooks and ePub Format Digital Books: A #tltechforum Roundable.” That great discussion was facilitated by Charlene Chausis.
Remember to follow Wesley Fryer on Twitter (@wfryer), Facebook and Google+. Also "like" Wesley's Facebook pages for "Speed of Creativity Learning" and his eBook, "Playing with Media." Don't miss Wesley's latest technology integration project, "Mapping Media to the Common Core / Curriculum."
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