The idea was simple enough: no longer did you need to travel to the library to wade through rows and stacks and floors and buildings and card catalogs only to wag home only as much as you could carry.
Or risk spending the afternoon locked in a room with the reference books you couldn’t check out. With eBooks, databases were now entirely searchable–and searchable through mobile devices from your pocket.
Books were also just a click away (provided you had an internet connection). Nothing against libraries, but the argument makes sense: the more accessible books are, the more people should read.
It’s a bit troublesome then that most of the press of eReaders has to do with who they’re putting out of business and who is making a killing than how has reading changed–especially for those who may not have read much before?
If all eReaders have done is make it easier for highly literate people to purchase books, then there is a worrisome economic and cultural disparity only being deepened by technology.
But if there truly is improved access–and everyone has it and knows about it and can find books they’d actually want to read–well then, we’ve done something right. We’re using technology to produce better readers.
While we can’t help with the financial and hardware end (and to be fair, most smartphones can download and use the Kindle reader for free), we can help with the access to free eBooks bit, with the following listly from Fasal Khan.
51 Sources Of Hundreds Of Thousands Of Free eBooks