Fill Your New Kindle, iPad, iPhone, eReader with Free eBooks, Audio Books, Online Courses & More

ipadgift

San­ta left a new Kin­dleiPad, Kin­dle Fire or oth­er media play­er under your tree. He did his job. Now we’ll do ours. We’ll tell you how to fill those devices with free intel­li­gent media — great books, movies, cours­es, and all of the rest. And if you did­n’t get a new gad­get, fear not. You can access all of these mate­ri­als right on a com­put­er. Here we go:

Free eBooks: You have always want­ed to read the great works. And now is your chance. When you dive into our Free eBooks col­lec­tion you will find 800 great works by some clas­sic writ­ers (Dick­ens, Dos­to­evsky, Austen, Shake­speare and Tol­stoy) and con­tem­po­rary writ­ers (Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asi­mov, and Kurt Von­negut). The col­lec­tion also gives you access to the 51-vol­ume Har­vard Clas­sics.

If you’re an iPad/iPhone user, the down­load process is super easy. Just click the “iPad/iPhone” links and you’re good to go. Kin­dle and Nook users will gen­er­al­ly want to click the “Kin­dle + Oth­er For­mats links” to down­load ebook files, but we’d sug­gest watch­ing these instruc­tion­al videos (Kin­dle – Nook) before­hand.

Free Audio Books: What bet­ter way to spend your free time than lis­ten­ing to some of the great­est books ever writ­ten? This page con­tains a vast num­ber of free audio books — 700 works in total — includ­ing texts by Arthur Conan Doyle, James Joyce, Jane Austen, Edgar Allan Poe, George Orwell and more recent writ­ers — Ita­lo Calvi­no, Vladimir Nabokov, Ray­mond Carv­er, etc. You can down­load these clas­sic books straight to your gad­gets, then lis­ten as you go.

[Note: If you’re look­ing for a con­tem­po­rary book, you can down­load one free audio book from Audible.com. Find details on Audi­ble’s no-strings-attached deal here.]

Free Online Cours­es: This list brings togeth­er over 1150 free online cours­es from lead­ing uni­ver­si­ties, includ­ing Stan­ford, Yale, MIT, UC Berke­ley, Oxford and beyond.

These full-fledged cours­es range across all dis­ci­plines — his­to­ryphysicsphi­los­o­phypsy­chol­o­gy, busi­ness, and beyond. Most all of these cours­es are avail­able in audio, and rough­ly 75% are avail­able in video. You can’t receive cred­its or cer­tifi­cates for these cours­es (click here for cours­es that do offer cer­tifi­cates). But the amount of per­son­al enrich­ment you will derive is immea­sur­able.

Free Movies: With a click of a mouse, or a tap of your touch screen, you will have access to 725 great movies. The col­lec­tion hosts many clas­sics, west­erns, indies, doc­u­men­taries, silent films and film noir favorites. It fea­tures work by some of our great direc­tors (Alfred Hitch­cock, Orson Welles, Andrei Tarkovsky and more) and per­for­mances by cin­e­ma leg­ends: John Wayne, Jack Nichol­son, Audrey Hep­burn, Char­lie Chap­lin, and beyond. On this one page, you will find thou­sands of hours of cin­e­ma bliss.

Free Lan­guage Lessons: Per­haps learn­ing a new lan­guage is high on your list of New Year’s res­o­lu­tions. Well, here is a great way to do it. Take your pick of 46 lan­guages, includ­ing Span­ish, French, Ital­ian, Man­darin, Eng­lish, Russ­ian, Dutch, even Finnish, Yid­dish and Esperan­to. These lessons are all free and ready to down­load.

Free Text­books: And one last item for the life­long learn­ers among you. We have scoured the web and pulled togeth­er a list of 200 Free Text­books. It’s a great resource par­tic­u­lar­ly if you’re look­ing to learn math, com­put­er sci­ence or physics on your own. There might be a dia­mond in the rough here for you.

Thank San­ta, maybe thank us, and enjoy that new device.…

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Download the Universe: A Discerning Curator for Science eBooks

download the universe

We all need guides for the over­whelm­ing world of the Inter­net. Dig­i­tal cura­tors are essen­tial to sift­ing through the vast and expand­ing sup­ply of online con­tent because they find the good stuff that’s worth check­ing out.

When Down­load the Uni­verse launched a year ago, the dig­i­tal world gained a smart and dis­cern­ing cura­tor for the grow­ing num­ber of sci­ence ebooks. What a boon for sci­ence lovers. Sci­ence lends itself unique­ly to apps and ebook pub­lish­ing. And doing what dig­i­tal pub­lish­ing does best, a good ebook can bring con­tent to life like no paper­back or hard­cov­er can.

fragile earth

Take Harp­er Collins’ Frag­ile Earth ($2.99 on iTunes), which came out orig­i­nal­ly as a glossy cof­fee table book. Loaded with before and after pho­tos of places on the plan­et scarred by defor­esta­tion and cli­mate change, the book was visu­al­ly stun­ning, if pedan­tic. But when released as an ebook, the whole expe­ri­ence unfold­ed like a beau­ti­ful, heart­break­ing origa­mi.

As Down­load the Uni­verse’s review of the Frag­ile Earth ebook  points out, the app ver­sion ben­e­fits from dig­i­tal tech­nol­o­gy, lay­ing before and after satel­lite images over one anoth­er, rather than side by side, mak­ing the expe­ri­ence of see­ing them  even more pro­found.

color uncovered

Here’s anoth­er one: Col­or Uncov­ered (free on iTunes), pro­duced by San Francisco’s Explorato­ri­um Muse­um, is a rich expe­ri­ence like a muse­um exhib­it itself. Com­bin­ing text with images and inter­ac­tive fea­tures, the ebook explores how the eye per­ceives col­or. The review­er, New York Times con­trib­u­tor Carl Zim­mer, uses his review to dis­cuss what the ebook expe­ri­ence shares with muse­um exhibits.

In the hands of Down­load the Uni­verse, it appears that ebook pub­lish­ing has matured into its own genre, with its own dis­tinct advan­tages.

blindsight

Some­times ebook pub­lish­ers don’t make good use of avail­able fea­tures. This review of Blind­sight by jour­nal­ist Chris Col­in notes that the book’s app ver­sion, telling the sto­ry of a tele­vi­sion direc­tor who suf­fers a brain injury, should have includ­ed neu­ro­log­i­cal back­ground infor­ma­tion in the main sto­ry, not as a sep­a­rate fea­ture.

Down­load the Uni­verse only reviews ebooks in the dig­i­tal uni­verse, not spin-offs from tra­di­tion­al print books. They look at Kin­dle prod­ucts, self-pub­lished pdf man­u­scripts and apps, and they’ve got top-notch tal­ent review­ing this brave new world on our behalf. The edi­to­r­i­al board includes some names you may well rec­og­nize, like Sean Car­roll (Cal­tech physi­cist), Steve Sil­ber­man (Wired), Mag­gie Koerth-Bak­er (Boing Boing), Annalee Newitz (io9), and David Dobbs (NYTimes, Nat Geo, etc.).

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Neil deGrasse Tyson Lists 8 (Free) Books Every Intel­li­gent Per­son Should Read

NASA Presents “The Earth as Art” in a Free eBook and Free iPad App

375 Free eBooks: Down­load to Kin­dle, iPad/iPhone & Nook 

Kate Rix writes about dig­i­tal media and edu­ca­tion. Read more of her work at .

Fill Your New Kindle, iPad, iPhone with Free eBooks, Movies, Audio Books, Online Courses & More

San­ta left a new Kin­dle, iPad or oth­er media play­er under your tree. He did his job. Now we’ll do ours. We’ll tell you how to fill those devices with free intel­li­gent media — great books, movies, cours­es, and all of the rest. And if you did­n’t get a new gad­get, fear not. You can access all of these mate­ri­als on the good old fash­ioned com­put­er. Here we go:

Free eBooks: You have always want­ed to read the great works. And now is your chance. When you dive into our Free eBooks col­lec­tion you will find 375 great works by some clas­sic writ­ers (Dick­ens, Dos­to­evsky, Shake­speare and Tol­stoy) and con­tem­po­rary writ­ers (F. Scott Fitzger­ald, Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asi­mov, and Kurt Von­negut). The col­lec­tion also gives you access to the 51-vol­ume Har­vard Clas­sics.

If you’re an iPad/iPhone user, the down­load process is super easy. Just click the “iPad/iPhone” links and you’re good to go. Kin­dle and Nook users will gen­er­al­ly want to click the “Kin­dle + Oth­er For­mats links” to down­load ebook files, but we’d sug­gest watch­ing these instruc­tion­al videos (Kin­dle –Nook) before­hand.

Free Audio Books: What bet­ter way to spend your free time than lis­ten­ing to some of the great­est books ever writ­ten? This page con­tains a vast num­ber of free audio books, includ­ing works by Arthur Conan Doyle, James Joyce, Jane Austen, Edgar Allan Poe, George Orwell and more recent writ­ers — Ita­lo Calvi­no, Vladimir Nabokov, Ray­mond Carv­er, etc. You can down­load these clas­sic books straight to your gagdets, then lis­ten as you go.

[Note: If you’re look­ing for a con­tem­po­rary book, you can down­load one free audio book from Audible.com. Find details on Audi­ble’s no-strings-attached deal here.]

Free Online Cours­es: This list brings togeth­er over 600 free online cours­es from lead­ing uni­ver­si­ties, includ­ing Stan­ford, Yale, MIT, UC Berke­ley, Oxford and beyond. These full-fledged cours­es range across all dis­ci­plines — his­to­ryphysicsphi­los­o­phypsy­chol­o­gy and beyond. Most all of these cours­es are avail­able in audio, and rough­ly 75% are avail­able in video. You can’t receive cred­its or cer­tifi­cates for these cours­es (click here for cours­es that do offer cer­tifi­cates. But the amount of per­son­al enrich­ment you will derive is immea­sur­able.

Free Movies: With a click of a mouse, or a tap of your touch screen, you will have access to 500 great movies. The col­lec­tion hosts many clas­sics, west­erns, indies, doc­u­men­taries, silent films and film noir favorites. It fea­tures work by some of our great direc­tors (Alfred Hitch­cock, Orson Welles, Andrei Tarkovsky, Stan­ley Kubrick, Jean-Luc Godard and David Lynch) and per­for­mances by cin­e­ma leg­ends: John Wayne, Jack Nichol­son, Audrey Hep­burn, Char­lie Chap­lin, and beyond. On this one page, you will find thou­sands of hours of cin­e­ma bliss.

Free Lan­guage Lessons: Per­haps learn­ing a new lan­guage is high on your list of 2013 New Year’s res­o­lu­tions. Well, here is a great way to do it. Take your pick of 40 lan­guages, includ­ing Span­ish, French, Ital­ian, Man­darin, Eng­lish, Russ­ian, Dutch, even Finnish, Yid­dish and Esperan­to. These lessons are all free and ready to down­load.

Free Text­books: And one last item for the life­long learn­ers among you. We have scoured the web and pulled togeth­er a list of 150 Free Text­books. It’s a great resource par­tic­u­lar­ly if you’re look­ing to learn math, com­put­er sci­ence or physics on your own. There might be a dia­mond in the rough here for you.

Thank San­ta, maybe thank us, and enjoy that new device.…

Calibre’s Open Source Software Makes It Easy to Read Free eBooks (and Much More)

We at Open Cul­ture have dis­cov­ered a handy piece of soft­ware that will make it eas­i­er to use our col­lec­tion, 600 Free eBooks for iPad, Kin­dle & Oth­er Devices. Cal­i­bre is a free e‑book library man­age­ment soft­ware that lets users con­vert e‑books from one for­mat to anoth­er.

Say that you’ve down­loaded Jane Austen’s Pride and Prej­u­dice in the open ePUB for­mat and want to move the book onto your Kin­dle. Cal­i­bre can con­vert the text into all of the major e‑reader for­mats, includ­ing Kindle’s pro­pri­etary for­mat. The pro­gram will then sync the text to your device and you’re good to go.

Cal­i­bre sup­ports e‑book for­mats used by major man­u­fac­tur­ers (includ­ing Ama­zon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Sony), but if your device isn’t list­ed in the program’s list, Calibre’s “gener­ic device” option will most like­ly do the job.

The pro­gram also offers a default view­er for read­ing texts on your com­put­er, and books can be con­vert­ed from one plat­form to anoth­er, mak­ing it easy to move books from your phone to iPad to lap­top and beyond.

Cal­i­bre fills a niche for e‑book read­ers, pro­vid­ing a sim­ple way to man­age e‑libraries. The pro­gram also helps man­age and orga­nize online mag­a­zines, news­pa­pers and oth­er read­ing mate­ri­als. Click “Fetch News” and Cal­i­bre will scan select­ed online news out­lets and cat­a­log them in your col­lec­tion.

You can even buy books by using Calibre’s inter­face to search for the best price on a select­ed title.

You can down­load Cal­i­bre here and then start min­ing our ever-grow­ing col­lec­tion of Free eBooks.

Kate Rix writes about dig­i­tal cul­ture and edu­ca­tion. Find more of her work at .

Amazon Finally Gets the Kindle Right with the Paperwhite, Delivering on Price and Technology

It took five years and five mod­els, but Ama­zon has final­ly released a new gen­er­a­tion of the Kin­dle — the Kin­dle Paper­white — that deliv­ers the goods. The prob­lem with the pre­vi­ous mod­els boiled down to this. The screens were fair­ly mud­dy. The con­trast, poor. The words did­n’t pop off of the page. If you ever tried read­ing a Kin­dle indoors, espe­cial­ly in low­er light con­di­tions, you know what I mean.

With the Kin­dle Paper­white, Ama­zon has made a pret­ty big leap ahead. They’ve made improve­ments to the font con­trast and screen res­o­lu­tion, which def­i­nite­ly enhance the read­ing expe­ri­ence. They’ve also added a touch­screen to the e‑ink mod­el. But the big stride for­ward is the built-in light that illu­mi­nates the screen. The screen is sidelit, not back­lit (à la the iPad). The point of the light isn’t to make the screen glow like a com­put­er screen. It’s to make the screen stay white, like the page of a book, under vary­ing light con­di­tions. If you move from brighter to dim­mer light­ing con­di­tions, you nudge up the bright­ness so that the page con­tin­ues to look white. And then you stop there.

It all works quite well, until you start read­ing with the Paper­white in pret­ty dim light con­di­tions. Then you’ll need to dial up the light until the screen actu­al­ly glows, and that’s when you’ll start to see some imper­fec­tions in the design. As David Pogue men­tioned in his New York Times review, the Paper­white has some hotspots (areas of uneven light­ing) along the bot­tom of the screen, which detract minor­ly from the read­ing expe­ri­ence.

The last thing Ama­zon got right is the price. The entry mod­el starts at $119, which means that Ama­zon is basi­cal­ly sell­ing the e‑reader at cost, and then mak­ing mon­ey on book sales. But that does­n’t mean that you need to spend very much. You can always down­load texts from our col­lec­tion of 375 Free eBooks. Or, if you’re an Ama­zon Prime Mem­ber, you can bor­row up to 180,000 books for free.

For a com­plete tour of the new Kin­dle, watch this 20 minute video.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Down­load 450 Free Audio Books

Read 160 Free Text­books Online

Down­load a Free Audio Book From Audible.com

A Big List of 375 Free eBooks for Your iPad, Kindle, Nook and Other Devices

Last week, Ama­zon announced that it would start ship­ping a promis­ing, new ebook read­er in ear­ly Octo­ber — the Kin­dle Paper­white. The Paper­white looks much like the old school, e‑ink Kin­dle that you know and maybe love. But this new mod­el has a touch­screen and bet­ter con­trast­ing fonts. Plus … drum roll … it sports a built-in light that even­ly illu­mi­nates the screen, as you can see here. If Ama­zon can deliv­er on these promis­es, the new Kin­dle should be a pret­ty excel­lent deal, espe­cial­ly see­ing that the cheap­est mod­el is priced at $119.

If you’re ready to splurge for an ebook read­er, then we’re ready to do our part — to hook you up with Free eBooks. If you vis­it our col­lec­tion, 600 Free eBooks for iPad, Kin­dle & Oth­er Devicesyou’ll find 600 great works. The list includes many clas­sic mas­ter­pieces (Tol­stoy’s War & Peace, Jane Austen’s Pride & Prej­u­dice, and Kafka’s The Meta­mor­pho­sis), but also more mod­ern works by such authors as Isaac Asi­mov, Philip K. Dick, Kurt Von­negut, and even Neil Gaiman.

If you’re an iPad/iPhone user, the down­load process is super easy. Just click the “iPad/iPhone” links and you’re good to go. Kin­dle and Nook users will gen­er­al­ly want to click the “Kin­dle + Oth­er For­mats links” to down­load ebook files, but we’d sug­gest watch­ing these instruc­tion­al videos (Kin­dleNook) before­hand to take full advan­tage of the col­lec­tion. And, if down­load­ing files seems like a bur­den, fear not. We often give you the abil­i­ty to sim­ply read texts online. Find our full col­lec­tion here: 600 Free eBooks for iPad, Kin­dle & Oth­er Devices

PS When you return, you can always find this col­lec­tion along the top nav­i­ga­tion bar — where it says eBooks.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

500 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties

150 Free Text­books: A Meta Col­lec­tion

450 Free Audio Books: Down­load Great Books for Free

500 Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, etc.

Learn 40 Lan­guages for Free: Span­ish, Eng­lish, Chi­nese & More

 

 

The Latest, Greatest Cultural Perk of Amazon Prime: Stream Movies and TV Shows to the iPad

When Ama­zon launched Ama­zon Prime in 2005, it did­n’t offer that much in the way of ben­e­fits — just free ship­ping on Ama­zon goods. Now if you pony up $79 per year, you get some good cul­tur­al perks: You can bor­row over 145,000 e‑books and read them on your Kin­dle and devices with Kin­dle apps. What’s more, you can stream thou­sands of movies and TV shows through your com­put­er, select blu-ray play­ers and now … drum roll please .… the iPad. Just yes­ter­day, Ama­zon released its free iPad app, which means that Prime mem­bers can start stream­ing movies on their tablets right away. If you’re not a mem­ber, you can always try out a one month Free Tri­al to Ama­zon Prime. And if that does­n’t move you, you can sim­ply dive into our col­lec­tion of 500 Free Movies Online. Ars Tech­ni­ca has more details on the pros and cons of the app here.

Fantasmagorie: The First Animated Film

Today, we’re adding to our col­lec­tion of Free Online Movies a great lit­tle film by Emile Cohl, oth­er­wise known as “The Father of the Ani­mat­ed Car­toon.” Made in 1908, Fan­tas­magorie stitched togeth­er 700 draw­ings, each dou­ble-exposed, cre­at­ing the first ful­ly ani­mat­ed film. Cohl made over 250 films between 1908 and 1923, of which 37 sur­vive in film archives. And sev­er­al – Le cauchemar de Fan­toche (1908) and The Hash­er’s Delir­i­um (1910) – appear right here on YouTube.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ear­ly Exper­i­ments in Col­or Film (1895–1935)

Franken­stein Hits the Sil­ver Screen (1910)

Where Hor­ror Film Began: The Cab­i­net of Dr. Cali­gari

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.