Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Dickens and more: Free eBooks on the iPhone

Several weeks ago, our family had the pleasure of watching the play “A Territorial Christmas Carol” performed in nearby Guthrie, Oklahoma, at The Pollard Theater. The play is based on Charles Dickens’ famous book, “A Christmas Carol,” and makes a slight twist on the plot setting it in the Oklahoma territory just prior to statehood in 1907. After hearing Lynn Neary’s report for NPR this past week, “A Holiday Reading Tradition For The Whole Family,” I started thinking about reading the Dickens’ tale to my kids this year. Since they all just saw the play, they’ve got some recent background knowledge about the storyline. When my 8 year old asked tonight if we could read a book on my iPhone, these thoughts crossed my mind and I opened the free eReader iPhone application I’d downloaded several weeks ago. After clicking the (+) symbol in the upper right corner of the app’s opening “Bookshelf” screen, I clicked the third site option for “” and searched for “Christmas Carol.”

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

I clicked on the first download format option (“eReader”) for “A Christmas Carol” and less than 30 seconds later, we started reading the opening chapter of Dicken’s classic from 1843.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a fantastic site. The website explains:

Free eBooks for your PDA, iPhone, or eBook reader. Browse through the most popular titles, recommendations, or recent reviews from our visitors. Perhaps you’ll find something interesting in the special collections. There are 22,498 eBooks available here and they’re all free!

Do we live in an amazing world or WHAT?! Over 22,000 free electronic books available on this one website, and I can download any of them in mere seconds to my handheld computer over my home high-speed Internet connection?!

Although some of the vocabulary in “A Christmas Carol” is a bit advanced for my five and eight year old daughters, they seemed to really enjoy hearing most of the opening chapter this evening. Sarah likes how I say “Scrooge!” Of course reading with lots of expression always helps, whether the text is paper-based or digital. 🙂 We generally read picture books at bedtime, but we’ll see how this goes the next few days reading on the iPhone without pictures.

This experience tonight was historic in our family for several reasons: Not only was it (perhaps) the start of a new holiday tradition, it also is my first sincere attempt to read an entire book in an electronic format. We’ll see how this goes, but so far, so good.

Stanza is another free eBook application for the iPhone which has received some enthusiastic reviews. To really jumpstart your iPhone and iPod Touch application use this winter, don’t miss the “12 Days of iPod touch” blog series Tony Vincent is writing this month over at his blog on I periodically update my own list of iPhone apps I’m using over on my Google Site. (Sadly my old wiki had to be migrated so I lost my old domain: It will be de-activated in mid-January. All my content moved over fine to Google Sites, thankfully.)

Here’s one of the items on my wish list for Santa this year: A free iPhone app which lets users share their current installed applications with friends and others, similar to the way you can share recent movie rentals with friends on Netflix. I think the app should, in addition to showing program names and providing direct download links to the iTunes App Store, also show which apps are used the most and the least by users. That would be helpful to know which applications are the real favorites by different people.

Does this application already exist? If so, please share the link! If it doesn’t, please consider authoring it yourself! 🙂

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