Have you ever wondered how many trees it takes to print your 300-odd pages of paperback bestseller?
In recent years, the Green Movement has gained momentum to such a degree that green has become, in a word, "in". Different industries have made tremendous efforts to put the environment into their corporate social responsibility agenda.
Environmentalists can enumerate many ways that you can take part in this global movement for environmental awareness, but one major contribution that an avid reader - a certified booklover, bookworm, and bibliophile like you - can do is to begin shifting from paper-based publications to digital ones.
Remember when you first started building your personal library? Starting a book collection of paperbacks, first editions, special editions, hardbound tomes, signed copies, and rare finds is a gargantuan task, and once your collection has grown, it's even more difficult to part with it. Fortunately, this guide is not a die-hard fan of the uber-radical. What this guide suggests is for you to keep your library as it is...as well as to shift your focus from buying printed copies to downloading eBook versions of books that you want to read. You'll be surprised at how easily you can start building an eBook library from scratch - and how convenient the switch would be.
Why download eBooks?
There are other advantages to making the move from printed to digital versions. For one, thereare literally millions of eBooks to choose from, and, depending on the memory size of your reading device, you can own as much book as your public library. All of these books are readily available for you in a format that saves you precious space and waste: no clutter, and no guilt of wasting paper.
Another advantage of having a digital library is that you can organize your collection in an instant. This makes retrieval easier as well; you don't have to go through shelves and piles to look for one title that might have been misplaced. Also, there are no paper hassles, no clutter, no moth-eaten or torn pages, and no more vandalized covers. There will no longer be unreturned, missing or misplaced books. Best of all, no paper trail: you can horde as many eBooks as you like without the guilt of having a tree, or two, or three killed for your reading enjoyment.
Building an eBook Library
The good thing is that building an eBook library from the ground up is so much easier than starting a printed-book collection. For starters, there are millions of ready-to-download eBooks online. The web is replete with eBook versions of classics like Jane Austen and Charles Dickens to recent bestsellers like John Grisham and Anne Rice; you just have to know where to look for the best sites that can offer you the choicest versions.
For classics, you can start by checking out Project Gutenberg's enormous collection of fiction and nonfiction works using their user-friendly site feature that works just like any OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog). Bestsellers from major publication houses may be a little bit more difficult to find - difficult, but not impossible. At present, most publications offer digital versions of books that readers can pore over on their eBook reading devices.
Some online catalogs that you can visit include those of major publication houses like Random House and HarperCollins; bookstores like Barnes & Noble and Booklocker; and eBook websites like eBooks.com and Borders.com. Even developers of eBook reading devices like iPad and Kindle offer free eBooks to go with your newly-purchased device.
If you're the kind of reader who wants to explore books without bias towards genre or author, there are several indie publishers and self-publishers who showcase their fiction and nonfiction works in eBook format for little or no cost. There are many sites where you can download eBooks for free. The key is to keep the passion for learning alive and burning.
The trick here is to pick a reading device that allows you to read your favorite page-turner whenever you want, wherever you may be. If you had to spend most of your time on your laptop for work or academic reasons, it might be best to keep it simple: just install the latest Adobe Reader and download eBooks in portable document format (pdf). Portable reading devices like Kindle, iPad, and iPhone give you the same feeling as having a book lying flat open on your lap, but with additional features like digital bookmarks, marking pens, and text-to-speech software to enhance your reading experience.
Now that you know the basics, have fun building your digital eBook library!