Ways to get free books online – A discovery I made during BEA

What will come of books in the future? Will they all go to electronic format? Will people be able to access books for free? Let’s take a look at some things I found at BEA that could stir up a buzz of a different nature between authors and readers.

Wowio is an online site that gives books away for free! Yep, you heard it. Free books. I recognized some of the books and wondered, “Wow! Can they do that?” But, apparently they are doing it. http://www.wowio.com/about.asp

I went over to register to check it out. Wowio doesn’t allow non-anonymous email addresses, such as Yahoo or Gmail, so that is very annoying. I signed up with my COS account and then was told that the domain had to be checked first. Finally, I got my authorization and go in to set up my account. They ask a lot of personal information so I’m a bit concerned with that. Why do they need my age and race to give me free books? They don’t trust me to say who I am (won’t take Yahoo accounts), but they trust be to give my REAL age?! Ha! They don’t know me very well do they?! I can see where my entertainment preferences are important though.

At Wowio they say you can download up to 5 ebooks per day. And, if you get 10 friends to join they will give you a free iPod Shuffle! I can see where they want to authenticate email addresses, but really, if you’re smart enough you can get around this too.

I have to say that there really are a lot of books here. And, if you like the classics, this is the place for you! Or, if you’re a college student on a budget, this is a good resource.

I searched “Romance” and up came some Jane Austen books (good sign!) and Edgar Allen Poe (bad sign). Did Edgar Allen Poe write romance and I just missed that fact?

They have a feature “Readers of this book also downloaded” that I thought was useful. I found a book I was actually VERY interested in – Branwell: A Novel of the Bronte Brother. I ordered the book and was told that a confirmation email would be sent telling me how I can download the book. The email came in and I now have the book. But, what I found interesting is that they note how much the book is actually worth ($14) and that it is brought to you by Verizon Wireless! So, they have companies who sponsor a book! All very interesting. And, other than the fact that I didn’t like to give out so much information on myself and that they don’t allow non-authenticating email addresses (which will cost them in the long run) this is a very cool site with wonderful benefits!

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