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Project Gutenberg Australia
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Ebooks are digitised versions of paper books. That is to say, they are computer files. The ebooks available from Project Gutenberg Australia, all of which are free of charge, are usually provided in 'txt' or 'html' format and can be read on any personal computer or laptop, using a text editor such as Notepad, which comes bundled with every copy of Microsoft Windows, or with a web browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox. However, when this basic method is used to read ebooks one is not able to bookmark pages for future reference or jump to a particular chapter from the Table of Contents.

These shortcomings, have been overcome by the development of software specifically designed to read ebooks on personal computers and laptops. Good examples are Tom's eTextReader from Fellnersoft and yBook and yRead from Spacejock Software. This software boasts many features to make the experience of reading ebooks more rewarding. The yRead software will even read the book back to you, using a synthesised voice. You want more, I hear you say. Well, both offerings are free of charge and can be downloaded directly from the internet. Microsoft Reader software, for both PC an PocketPC is also very popular. The meaning of words can be looked up in a dictionary, and bookmarks can be added. Check out the Microsoft Reader site. Go to the Download page for free downloads. There is more information on this subject on our help page.

Of course, books are not usually read while one is sitting in front of a computer. We want to be able to carry them with us and read them while sitting on a train, or while resting in an easy chair or at the beach. This need for mobility precipitated the development of proprietary ebook reading devices (ereaders). Such devices have been around for quite a few years now, with varying degrees of success. Recently we have seen the release of several new offerings, including the Sony Reader and the Amazon Kindle. The iRex iLiad, iRex DR1000S, HanLin and Cybook are ebook readers which are also available in Australia, at the time of writing this article.

The software available for use with these devices often allows for ebook files to be converted into a format which makes the ebooks easier to read on a particular device. The 'epub' format, a free and open standard set by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), may, in time, become a universal standard for ebook publishing so that ebooks published in epub format can be read on any ereader.

Many people use a personal digital assistant (PDA) or a tablet or mobile phone, such as the iPhone, to read ebooks. One usually needs to convert the basic text file or html file, which comprises the ebook, into a file format more suitable for display on the device's screen. Calibre software was specifically developed for just this purpose and may be downloaded from the Calibre web site, free of charge.

The HTML format is used universally on web sites to display content. Many of the ebooks available from Project Gutenberg Australia are provided in html format. By using this format, it is possible to display images in the ebooks and to provide a Table of Contents from which users can jump to the start of any chapter in the ebook. The use of coloured text and different printer fonts can also be used to enhance the appearance, readability and utility of the ebook. Some of the software and devices mentioned above support html files, however images which are displayed in the html files often cannot be seen on those devices. There is more information on this subject on our help page.

This article is intended to provide practical information for people who want to enjoy reading ebooks. Should you require further information please refer to our Help file which provides information on reading, downloading and converting our ebooks.You may also contact us. We will certainly help you if we can.

[Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, Blackberry, handheld device, ebooks, etexts, epub, ereader, ipod, iphone, ipad, mobi, azw, Galaxy tab, tablet.]

Updated 23 August 2019

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