reading

Ways to Read DRM-Free

The idea for this post came to me as I was searching for blog posts or articles on the latest in the DRM battle. I hoped that I could read library e-books without Adobe Digital Editions (the software required to download library books) collecting information such as how long I read a book and what percentage of a book I read. This, by the way, is in ADDITION to the regular information that is gathered by many apps these days: your IP address, your device ID, your account ID, and the app you use.

For those of you who don’t know what it is, DRM stands for Digital Rights Management – and it’s the protocol set in place that is supposed to prevent book piracy. The American Library Association explains the issues better. For the 101 course, go here. Interested in joining the fight against DRM? See Defective By Design.

Personally, I don’t see myself forgoing entirely reading library e-books or downloading free review copies from NetGalley and Edelweiss that have DRM and require me to use a program that makes me uncomfortable. However, I will continue to increase my vigilance when I make e-book purchases.

Collected below are ten resources you may find useful in your own search for DRM-free content:

  1. Book View Cafe. I’ve mentioned this one before, and this probably won’t be the last time. A group of authors set up this site to sell their works directly to their readers, DRM-free. This means Big Brother isn’t peering through your e-reader screen, and it also means you often get the books at a discount.
  2. Closed Circle. I only just discovered this one, but as another site founded by three authors (one of them C.J. Cherryh!), and focusing on fantasy, it looks like an excellent place to search for DRM-free books by the three authors (that’s Cherryh, Lynn Abbey, and Jane Fancher).
  3. Tor/Forge. As of 2012, Tor/Forge began publishing its e-books without DRM. YES. Binti, The Last Witness, Domnall and the Borrowed Child, The Builders, and Witches of Lychford are on my to-read list.
  4. Calibre. Open-source e-reading app that it is, Calibre supports DRM-free. They even have a catalog online.
  5. Baen. Super publisher of science fiction and fantasy, Baen has published e-books without DRM for a while. They also have a Free Library!
  6. Project Gutenberg. The original. In Canada? They have it there, too.
  7. OpenBooks. With a business model that relies on the honor system, you read first and then pay the author according to how much you believe the book is worth.
  8. Double-Dragon Publishing. An e-book publisher that is included in Calibre’s library, but whose website says nothing about being DRM-Free, they have an interesting and unfamiliar list of titles.
  9. Kevinbenyon.com. This site lists a number of DRM-free online shops and publishers that are entirely new to me.
  10. BookReader. Lastly, here is a more comprehensive list of places to find DRM-Free books for purchase, and for free! Dive in, adventurers. Dive in.

Do you know of any resources for readers looking for DRM-free genre fiction? Share in the comments!

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Book Adventures Weekly, Issue 36

If ever there was a reason to get back into Doctor Who, it would be Maisie Williams/Arya Stark playing the villain.

Mental Floss lists 5 Bookish Facts about American readers and their habits. SHOCKING: “Some people have not even touched a book this year.” Did you know most book reviews are written by men, even though women read more books than men? Sort of reminds me of attitudes toward “women’s fiction” and “romance novels”…

Would you return a book 63 years after you borrowed it from the library?

Do you wear white in winter? Other rules to break, this time in the “reading” category.

Who doesn’t love a book set in a magical academy? I’m going to have to check out Rainbow Rowell’s The Rise and Fall of Simon SnowThere are other reviews by the NYT, as well, in case the first doesn’t strike your fancy.

For Katniss fans, Booklist Reader suggests two similar leading women.

Do’s and Don’ts of Reading and Drinking. For example: Don’t choose a bar in close proximity to a bookstore. Your lowered inhibitions may lead to unwise impulsive book purchases.

That’s all for this week! Tune in again next Monday for Issue 37.

Oh, and as a last-minute addition…

Eye candy. Libraries of the rich and famous. Move over, Beast!

Book Adventures Weekly: Issue 25

I absolutely love afternoon tea, and the English do it so well. To inspire you (and celebrate the custom), the British Museum showcases beautiful teapots from around the world. I’ll need one for my desk at work…

Book Riot recently posted a calculator that will tell you how long it will take you to read your TBR pile. How long will it take you to read yours?

I learned recently that scientists consider Henry VIII may have had a blood group anomaly – causing him to turn from a generous, handsome young man into a tyrannical, overweight, and nearly childless king.

Go walk in nature. It will do your brain good.

A Mad Lib for banning books, or “ideas not your own.”

Serious about reading? Here’s a list of five common reading mistakes that may ruin the experience of reading.

The Book Smugglers have awesome books listed on their Radar this week (and I’m just judging them by their covers, so far).

That’s all for this week! Check back next week for more fiction-related (and not-so-related) news links.

From the States to England: Distraction to the nth Degree

This post brought to you from 30,000 feet above the Altantic Ocean.

In the first post of our Traveling with Books feature, I hope you’ll follow me to the UK for traveling and reading adventures. In this new series of posts, we write about the books we read on the travels we take, review some and share why we read others… the format may change, but the point: traveling with books, will stay the same.

If you’ve been across the Atlantic, or even if you’ve been on a flight more than three or four hours, you know flying can be cramped, dry, stuffy, and in other ways entirely uncomfortable. To take my mind off the discomforts of my 8-hour flight – that is, before I take the Benadryl* and pass out – I will start with some new magazines: Money and Bazaar**

Of course, since this is a book blog about science fiction, fantasy, romance, and all the other good genre fiction genres, I’m going to focus on the books I carried with me to read on the plane.

So this one, not very distracting – at least, it’s not as absorbing as the genre fiction I usually use to escape. But, I have an agenda in picking this (heavy) book to bring with me. It’s all about strong women, in often dangerous and adverse circumstances. When compared to any of these queens, my paltry cross-atlantic flight seems much less dreadful. Life is all about perspective. Also, I picked it up on a solo trip in Canada, which is a bracing memory to have.

I purchased a few e-books recently from Book View Cafe – I tend to like their selection, and they often have deals, but I especially like that it belongs to a consortium of authors who sell the books themselves (avoiding publishing middlemen).

This one, by one of my favorite authors, Sherwood Smith, looks like such a fun story about a young magical thief who meets up with three other youths to have adventures. It reminds me of Wren and her group having adventures, and takes place in the same world. Comfort reading for sure!

Then, there are the advance copies I need to hurry up and review…

I absolutely cannot wait to open this one. A city of living bone, full of secrets and strange creatures, and one young woman who breaks a law and tumbles into those secrets.

I am also incredibly excited to finishing this space opera about alien encounters that also has some sort of time twist. Plus, a soldier heroine with psychic abilities!

Stay tuned for more traveling and reading adventures from across the pond!

*Word to the wise: Don’t buy a special OTC sleep aid, especially if the active ingredient is just 25mg of Diphenhydramine HCl. It’s Benadryl. Benadryl is cheaper.

**Am I getting older, or what?

Book Adventures Weekly: Issue 22

This week, I got a little distracted by history news…

From BookRiot: An interview with Dolen Perkins Valdez on creating new historical narratives.

Holy ancient history, Batman! Hair and eye color of ancient skeletons can now be determined. Also, in one of the worst news videos I’ve ever seen, news that two Roman-era Egyptian papyri have been re-discovered at UBC.

If you’re feeling hard-hit by life, or you’re low on motivation, you need to see this truly inspiring video about Damon C. Scott, singer in subways and vocalist on the house hit (I never heard) Storm Queen. It’s a short introduction to being grateful for what you have and at the same time being determined to achieve a dream.

For our fans of psychological suspense, horror, and darker fantasy, Tor lists the recently announced Shirley Jackson award-winners.

Goodreads recommends books for every kind of summer reader.

In other history news, the Learned Pig has an excerpt about medieval charms and curses from Medieval Graffiti: The Lost Voices of England’s Churches by Michael Campion. This is almost as good as ancient graffiti from Pompeii.

An ancient Roman fresco was discovered in France. It’s one of very few frescoes that have been found outside of Italy.

Frustrated by the unreality of Instagram? Buzzfeed compares reading on Instagram to reading in real life.

Book Adventures Weekly: Issue 19

Beautiful images of the Biblioteca Malatestiana in Italy, one of the few surviving chained libraries, which was built in 1454. From Atlas Obscura. And, if you can read Italian, here’s the library website with more information.

Have you forgotten the books you remember loving? You’re not alone…

More in beautiful libraries: From Book Riot, 10 beautiful libraries in the UK and Ireland.

Librarians have long fought for freedom of inquiry, thought, and speech.

On the fifth day of Christmas, we give you five ideal reading spots!

armchairIt’s the holiday season, which means lots of social events, parties, and family gatherings. If you’re just too tuckered (or peopled) out, when there are too many people at home, or at the party, or wherever you are, where do you go to get away and read? I don’t know about you, but the holidays have descended upon me like an avalanche down a mountain. Suddenly, finding a time to read has become incredibly challenging. But places? Well, keep reading for some of my favorites.

1. Your bedroom – As mundane as this suggestion is, it really benefits from the facts that a) it’s designated your territory, b) you can close the door to keep out unwanted intruders, and c) others might figure you’re taking a nap, and leave you alone (you could even use that as an excuse!). Your bedroom is quite the easiest place to get away from the hustle, bustle, sounds, and smells with a good book.

2. A book-friendly nook – I’m not talking about a couch, or the armchair that sits next to the couch, because in a family or living room, those are both highly trafficked areas, and besides, isn’t that where your TV slash fireplace is? But there might be a cozy reading chair in an upstairs hallway, or in a guest bedroom, a study, or even a home library, if you’re lucky. If it’s got a comfy chair (NB: can you drag a comfy chair there without too much effort slash noise slash scratched floors? Do it!) and is out of the way of the the main gathering spots, you’re golden! (more…)