e-books

Download 243 Free eBooks on Design, Data, Software, Web Development & Business from O’Reilly Media

in Business, e-books, Software, Television | January 5th, 2017

Last week we highlighted for you 20 Free eBooks on Design from O’Reilly Media. Little did we know that we were just scratching the surface of the free ebooks O’Reilly Media has to offer.

If you head over to this page, you can access 243 free ebooks covering a range of different topics. Below, we’ve divided the books into sections (and provided links to them), indicated the number of books in each section, and listed a few attractive/representative titles.

You can download the books in PDF format. An email address–but no credit card–is required. Again the complete list is here.

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Download 20 Free eBooks on Design from O’Reilly Media

in Business, e-books | December 29th, 2016

oreilly-books

A quick note: Thanks to O’Reilly Media, you can now download 20 free ebooks focused on design–everything from Designing for Cities, to Designing for the Internet of Things, to Design Essentials. You can download the books in PDF format. No credit card is required. See the complete list here.

Follow Open Culture on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, and Flipboard and share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. To make sure that our posts definitely appear in your Facebook newsfeed, just follow these simple steps.

If you’d like to help support Open Culture, please consider making a small monthly donation to our site. We would greatly appreciate it!

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The New York Public Library Lets Patrons Download 300,000 eBooks

in e-books | October 6th, 2016

simply-e-phones_1

A quick heads up for readers in NYC. This summer, The New York Public Library released a new app, called SimplyE, which gives its cardholders the ability to “browse, borrow, and read more than 300,000 e-books from the Library’s collections in just a few easy steps.” If you’re among the 3.4 million people the NYPL exists to serve, you can download SimplyE for iPhone/iPad or Android, log in with your NYPL card barcode and PIN, and start reading. Down the road, NYPL plans to make the app available on Kindle Fire, and also to make books available in mp3 format.

For more information on the app, click here. To discover the best art books available in SimplyE app, see this handy post by Hyperallergic.

As always, you can download free books from our twin collections: 900 Free Audio Books: Download Great Books for Free and 800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices.

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Enter an Archive of 6,000 Historical Children’s Books, All Digitized and Free to Read Online

in Archives, Books, e-books, K-12, Literature | August 30th, 2016

5 Little PIgs

We can learn much about how a historical period viewed the abilities of its children by studying its children’s literature. Occupying a space somewhere between the purely didactic and the nonsensical, most children’s books published in the past few hundred years have attempted to find a line between the two poles, seeking a balance between entertainment and instruction. However, that line seems to move closer to one pole or another depending on the prevailing cultural sentiments of the time. And the very fact that children’s books were hardly published at all before the early 18th century tells us a lot about when and how modern ideas of childhood as a separate category of existence began.

ABCs

“By the end of the 18th century,” writes Newcastle University professor M.O. Grenby, “children’s literature was a flourishing, separate and secure part of the publishing industry in Britain.” The trend accelerated rapidly and has never ceased—children’s and young adult books now drive sales in publishing (with 80% of YA books bought by grown-ups for themselves).




Grenby notes that “the reasons for this sudden rise of children’s literature” and its rapid expansion into a booming market by the early 1800s “have never been fully explained.” We are free to speculate about the social and pedagogical winds that pushed this historical change.

Afloat with Nelson

Or we might do so, at least, by examining the children’s literature of the Victorian era, perhaps the most innovative and diverse period for children’s literature thus far by the standards of the time. And we can do so most thoroughly by surveying the thousands of mid- to late 19th century titles at the University of Florida’s Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature. Their digitized collection currently holds over 6,000 books free to read online from cover to cover, allowing you to get a sense of what adults in Britain and the U.S. wanted children to know and believe.

Zig Zag

Several genres flourished at the time: religious instruction, naturally, but also language and spelling books, fairy tales, codes of conduct, and, especially, adventure stories—pre-Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew examples of what we would call young adult fiction, these published principally for boys. Adventure stories offered a (very colonialist) view of the wide world; in series like the Boston-published Zig Zag and English books like Afloat with Nelson, both from the 1890s, fact mingled with fiction, natural history and science with battle and travel accounts. But there is another distinctive strain in the children’s literature of the time, one which to us—but not necessarily to the Victorians—would seem contrary to the imperialist young adult novel.

Bible Picture Book

For most Victorian students and readers, poetry was a daily part of life, and it was a central instructional and storytelling form in children’s lit. The A.L.O.E.’s Bible Picture Book from 1871, above, presents “Stories from the Life of Our Lord in Verse,” written “simply for the Lord’s lambs, rhymes more readily than prose attracting the attention of children, and fastening themselves on their memories.” Children and adults regularly memorized poetry, after all. Yet after the explosion in children’s publishing the former readers were often given inferior examples of it. The author of the Bible Picture Book admits as much, begging the indulgence of older readers in the preface for “defects in my work,” given that “the verses were made for the pictures, not the pictures for the verses.”

Elfin Rhymes

This is not an author, or perhaps a type of literature, one might suspect, that thinks highly of children’s aesthetic sensibilities.  We find precisely the opposite to be the case in the wonderful Elfin Rhymes from 1900, written by the mysterious “Norman” with “40 drawings by Carton Moorepark.” Whoever “Norman” may be (or why his one-word name appears in quotation marks), he gives his readers poems that might be mistaken at first glance for unpublished Christina Rossetti verses; and Mr. Moorepark’s illustrations rival those of the finest book illustrators of the time, presaging the high quality of Caldecott Medal-winning books of later decades. Elfin Rhymes seems like a rare oddity, likely published in a small print run; the care and attention of its layout and design shows a very high opinion of its readers’ imaginative capabilities.

Elfin Rhymes 2

This title is representative of an emerging genre of late Victorian children’s literature, which still tended on the whole, as it does now, to fall into the trite and formulaic. Elfin Rhymes sits astride the fantasy boom at the turn of the century, heralded by hugely popular books like Frank L. Baum’s Wizard of Oz series and J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. These, the Harry Potters of their day, made millions of young people passionate readers of modern fairy tales, representing a slide even further away from the once quite narrow, “remorselessly instructional… or deeply pious” categories available in early writing for children, as Grenby points out.

All Around the Moon

Where the boundaries for kids’ literature had once been narrowly fixed by Latin grammar books and Pilgrim’s Progress, by the end of the 19th century, the influence of science fiction like Jules Verne’s, and of popular supernatural tales and poems, prepared the ground for comic books, YA dystopias, magician fiction, and dozens of other children’s literature genres we now take for granted, or—in increasingly large numbers—we buy to read for ourselves. Enter the Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature here, where you can browse several categories, search for subjects, authors, titles, etc, see full-screen, zoomable images of book covers, download XML versions, and read all of the over 6,000 books in the collection with comfortable reader views. Find more classics in our collection, 800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

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John Grisham Is Letting You Download His New Novel as a Free eBook

in Books, e-books | February 24th, 2016

grisham novel free

FYI: Bestselling author John Grisham is giving away his new novel called The Tumor: A Non-Legal Thriller. Available as a free ebook on Amazon, Grisham has called The Tumor “the most important book I’ve ever written.” And, as the subtitle suggests, this new book isn’t another one of those legal thrillers Grisham is known for. No, this novel focuses on medicine and how a “new medical technology could revolutionize the future of medicine by curing with sound.”

Here’s how the book is briefly summarized on Amazon:

The Tumor follows the present day experience of the fictional patient Paul, an otherwise healthy 35-year-old father who is diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Grisham takes readers through a detailed account of Paul’s treatment and his family’s experience that doesn’t end as we would hope. Grisham then explores an alternate future, where Paul is diagnosed with the same brain tumor at the same age, but in the year 2025, when a treatment called focused ultrasound is able to extend his life expectancy.

Focused ultrasound has the potential to treat not just brain tumors, but many other disorders, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, hypertension, and prostate, breast and pancreatic cancer…

Readers will get a taste of the narrative they expect from Grisham, but this short book will also educate and inspire people to be hopeful about the future of medical innovation.

You can download Grisham’s book here, and find many other free reads in our collection, 800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices.

You can also see Grisham talking about the material in his novel at this TEDx talk.

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h/t Robin

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The Princeton Bitcoin Textbook Is Now Free Online

in Computer Science, e-books | February 10th, 2016

free princeton bitcoin textbook

Image by Jason Benjamin, via Flickr Commons

On the Freedom to Tinker blog, Arvind Narayanan, a computer science professor at Princeton, announced yesterday:

The first complete draft of the Princeton Bitcoin textbook is now freely available. We’re very happy with how the book turned out: it’s comprehensive, at over 300 pages, but has a conversational style that keeps it readable.

If you’re looking to truly understand how Bitcoin works at a technical level and have a basic familiarity with computer science and programming, this book is for you. Researchers and advanced students will find the book useful as well — starting around Chapter 5, most chapters have novel intellectual contributions.

Princeton University Press is publishing the official, peer-reviewed, polished, and professionally done version of this book. It will be out this summer. If you’d like to be notified when it comes out, you should sign up here.

The Princeton Bitcoin textbook is already being used in American university classrooms (including at Stanford) and it’s also the text that supports a Princeton Bitcoin course being taught on Coursera.

You can now find it added to our collection of Free Textbooks.

via BoingBoing

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Download Marc Andreessen’s Influential Blog (“Pmarca”) as a Free eBook

in Business, e-books | February 1st, 2016

Marc_Andreessen_(1)

Image by Joi, via Wikimedia Commons

For years Marc Andreessen–the entrepreneur best known for launching Mosaic and later Netscape–ran a popular blog called “Pmarca” (apparently short for “Private Marc Andreessen”) where he dispensed wisdom on startups, business, investing and beyond. If you’ve worked in startups, especially in Silicon Valley, you probably followed “Pmarca” fairly religiously.

Like so many others, Andreessen eventually took down his blog and began “tweetstorming” on Twitter–all while serving on the boards of Facebook, eBay, and HP, and running his now influential VC firm, Andreessen Horowitz. Before “Pmarca” could fade completely into oblivion, fans asked Andreessen to preserve the blog for posterity. And that he did. You can now download an archive of “Pmarca” as a free ebook. Available in three formats (ePub, Mobi, and PDF), the archived version can be read in pretty much the blog’s original format. Start your downloads here.

Follow Open Culture on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, and Flipboard and share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. To make sure that our posts definitely appear in your Facebook newsfeed, just follow these simple steps.

If you’d like to help support Open Culture, please consider making a small monthly donation to our site. We would greatly appreciate it!

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18 Stories & Novels by Neil Gaiman Online: Free Texts & Readings by Neil Himself

in Audio Books, e-books, Literature | August 19th, 2015

Neil Gaiman might just be the most beloved fantasy author out there. He writes weird, twisted, exhilarating tales about hidden realities and the bizarre, fanciful creatures that live in them. His works, like Sandman, Fragile Things and American Gods, are pure escapism and a blast to read. No doubt, that’s the major reason why the author has developed such a rabid fan base.

But perhaps another reason is that he is simply more available than most writers. Sure, other authors, like J. K. Rowling for instance, might have inspired an entire generation with her Harry Potter series but she prefers to keep a certain remove from her readership. Though she has a Twitter account, she uses it sparingly.

Gaiman, on the other hand, is seemingly always on Twitter – he has, as of this writing, tweeted at least nine times in the past 24 hours, interacting with fans, publishers and the press. This is the guy who once reportedly signed 75,000 copies of his book The Ocean at the End of the Lane, after all.

He has also posted a lot of his work for free up on the internet. Below is a list of Gaiman’s work that you can read, see or hear online. Many are read by Neil himself. If you know of any missing texts, please let us know and we’ll get them added to our list ASAP.

Above you can find videos of Gaiman reading the first chapter of his book Coraline, and also the story “The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury.”

Audio & Video
Text

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Jonathan Crow is a Los Angeles-based writer and filmmaker whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hollywood Reporter, and other publications. You can follow him at @jonccrow. And check out his blog Veeptopus, featuring lots of pictures of vice presidents with octopuses on their heads.  The Veeptopus store is here.

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Creative Commons Launches Its First-Ever Kickstarter Campaign to Write a Book About Open Business Models

in Business, e-books | July 21st, 2015

At Creative Commons, a lot of the work we do to support the commons is in the background. We write and steward copyright licenses that help fuel the open web. We help push through open policies at the government, university, and foundation level to increase access to academic, scientific, cultural and other types of content. We fight for sensible copyright reform. All of this work is important, and we’re going to continue to do it.

But we also want to try our hand at something more visible. Our plan is to spend the next year collaboratively researching and writing a book about business models that involve Creative Commons licensing. Even our funding strategy for this project is public-facing and collaborative. Last week we launched our first-ever Kickstarter to raise money for the project, and we hope you’ll become a part of it all by making a pledge at any amount.

Crowdfunding this project is a way to kick off the project in an open and visible way, and to gather support and excitement for our work. But it is also a way to get first-hand experience with a business model that involves Creative Commons. As we raise funds to support the development of a book we will ultimately give away for free under a CC license, we are a case study for our own book. We’re off to a strong start and we’re learning as we go.

And we’re going to do it entirely in the open. We’ve started a Medium publication called “Made with Creative Commons” to use as our digital whiteboard. Throughout the year, we’ll be writing there about the things we learn, the questions we have, the problems we face. We’re hoping to make the research and writing process as collaborative as possible. Kickstarter backers can also become co-creators of the book to receive early drafts of our writing as we go and provide input to help shape the book.

We’re really excited about this ambitious project. Creating and sharing is what CC is all about, and as we do it, we’re hoping to reveal strategies that other creators and businesses can use for their own work. We hope you’ll join us!

–Sarah Hinchliff Pearson is Senior Counsel at Creative Commons.

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Commuters Can Download Free eBooks of Russian Classics While Riding the Moscow Metro

in e-books, Literature | June 26th, 2015

Dostoyevskaya

Image by Zigurds Zakis

They say that Mussolini’s brand of fascism made Italy’s trains run on time. Meanwhile, it looks like Communists and Post-Communist autocrats made the morning subway ride in Russia something of a cultural experience.

As you can see below, the Soviets designed the Moscow subway stations as underground palaces, adorned withhigh ceilings, stained glass, mosaics and chandeliers.” (Check out a gallery of photos here.) In more recent times, city planners opened the Dostoyevskaya subway station, a more austere station where you can see black and white mosaics of scenes from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novels — Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov. Somewhat controversially, the mosaics depict fairly violent scenes. On one wall, The Independent writes, “Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment brandishes an axe over the elderly pawnbroker Alyona Ivanovna and her sister, his murder victims in the novel. Near by, a character from Demons holds a pistol to his temple.” Nothing like confronting murder and suicide on the morning commute.

If these gloomy scenes don’t sound familiar, don’t fret. Late last year, the Moscow subway system launched a pilot where Moscow subway commuters, carrying smartphones and tablets, can download over 100 classic Russian works, for free. As they shuttle from one station to another, riding on subway cars equipped with free wifi, straphangers can read texts by Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Pushkin, Bulgakov, Lermontov, Gogol and more. Perhaps that takes the sting out of the soaring inflation.

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