In 2016, ebooks are not a novelty they once were, but the original mission of Read an Ebook Week is still valid: to promote reading of electronic books. The champion behind the program is author Rita Toews, who established the week already in 2004. In 2016, the digital reading week is scheduled for March 6th – 12th.
Rita Toews talked about the origins of the Read an Ebook Week to Huffington Post:
We were among the first authors to embrace e-books but the general public was very cautious of the new reading technology. It was hard to promote our books or to get anyone to listen when we requested publicity.
It came to me one day that if all authors spoke at the same time we stood a better chance of making an impact on the public. I registered Read an E-Book Week with Chases Calendar of Events so e-authors had “legitimacy” when they sought publicity. It worked. I would approach our library and say “It’s Read an E-Book Week” and the librarian knew from Chases that it was, so I could set up a display. The same when I approached TV and radio stations.
In order to get your reading week started, why not download free ebook samples from Klaava Media catalog right here.
The home page of the ebook week features plenty of special deals for this week.
Who wouldn’t want to get ebooks for free (and legally)? Sure, Gutenberg.org and other services have books that have entered public domain because the authors’ copyright periods have run out, but what about current fiction and non-fiction books? This is what Bookgrabbr is trying to achieve: get a free book, but share your good fortune with your social media followers.
First, you sign up for Bookgrabbr with your Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin credentials. Then, you can read a book from Bookgrabbr’s selection on your computer, tablet or smartphone. On a PC, you access the book in your browser, but if you like to read on a mobile device, you can download the Bookgrabbr app (or read in a browser as well).
Well, the service worked as advertised. I could read a book for free in exchange for sharing the happy news to my followers on Twitter. The book selection on Bookgrabbr, however, is very limited. Apart from a few public domain books, there is not much to read. Obviously, people behind the service intend to grow the selection in the future.
What’s the catch? For a reader, who wants to get free ebooks, the catch is marketing. Bookgrabbr gets readers’ social media contact information and can later send them messages concerning the author’s other books or similar books that are on sale on the store. For publishers, Bookgrabbr could be a channel to market backlist titles.
Oyster, an online service that lets you read as many books as you have time for a monthly fee of $10, has opened a bookstore where ebooks can be downloaded for offline reading. Oyster doesn’t tell how many books it has for sale, but proudly states that the big five publishers in the US (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster) among many others are on board.
Oyster’s bookstore is a convenient place to shop for existing subscription customers who occasionally want to purchase a book in order to make sure it is always accessible. For example, travel guidebooks fall into this category because you can’t assume you are connected to the Internet when on the road. Another thing is if Oyster can (or wants to) compete against Amazon, Apple iBooks, Google Play Books or Kobo purely as an ebook store.
Other ebook subscription services that let you read books for a low monthly fee are, for instance, 24 Symbols and Scribd.