I thought I’d do a post on the best way to read old books – at least the best way I have found. Here are the steps involved:
1) Get a Kindle
2) Go to either Google Books or Project Gutenberg (or some other sites that publish books, e.g. Mises.org). At Google Books search for “full view” books. Here’s an example of a title page. You can then click the “Download” link in the upper right and download the book in EPUB format (pdf from Google Books will not work for this strategy – see below*). At Gutenberg you can save the book in html or txt format (sometimes EPUB is also available).
3) Downlaod Stanza.
4) Open Stanza and open the EPUB/html/txt/pdf file of the book you downloaded. (Stanza will read a lot of formats, so you can pretty much convert any text file to read on your Kindle).
5) In the “File” menu of Stanza, there is an option to export the book. Do so in “Amazon Kindle” format.
6) Connect you Kindle to your computer and transfer the new .azw file (Amazon Kindle format) to you Kindle.
7) Read the book.
My wife got me a Kindle for something like $250. I’ve probably read almost 200 old books on it and paid $0 for each book. That’s a $/book cost of $1.25 and I’m still going.
In an afternoon, you’ll easily be able to transfer a couple hundred books to you Kindle. There’s no cheaper, easier way to read the best books in the world.
Note: I was wrong about the iPad. See the first comment
* There are two types of text pdf files available. In one type, the text is search-able and selectable. In the other, each page of the pdf is a picture of a page in a book (this is what Google Books publishes). You can transfer the former to you Kindle in the method described above. You can transfer the latter to you Kindle as well, but the latter will not display as well and the process is different (in short, you have to send to an email address at Amazon and they’ll send you back a converted file for free).