In Praise of Classic Works on Kindle

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cinghiale
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In Praise of Classic Works on Kindle

Post by cinghiale » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:47 pm

Hello, All.

There have been quite a few posts over the years about frugality, and what members are currently reading, and where to find bargains, and living the good life, and of the kinds of enlightenment and wisdom that can be found along the way.

Here’s something that combines all of the above: Classic works of literature on Kindle, sold on Amazon. Many of us have complained about Kindle prices, and have noted that it is particularly irksome when the Kindle price exceeds the paperback or even the hardcover edition of a book. The classics deliver a splendid exception.

Over the last few years I have ordered the complete works of Twain, James Fenimore Cooper, Dickens, and Shakespeare; Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, the complete Arabian Nights, Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, and Zola’s 20-volume Rougan-Macquart cycle. Total cost for the aforementioned? Maybe $10.00? For the lot.

In addition, a series called “The Greatest Writers of All Time” (Book House Publishing) offers the complete works of Tolstoy, Defoe, Dostoyevsky, Henry James, Cervantes, Hardy, Hugo, de Maupassant, Kipling, London, Dickens, Turgenev, Conrad, Wells, and others for 99 cents per. And there are many other editions of either major works or complete works (Locke, Hume, Rousseau, anyone?) for between 49 cents and 99 cents. And the Amazon reviews are quite good in alerting the potential buyer to glitchy or problematic Kindle editions.

For the cost of just one or two pricey Kindle books (or for whatever else you want for a cost comparison), one could load up on a few decades of great, time-honored reading. Maybe this is well known, though it isn’t something I’ve seen mentioned very prominently here in the forum. FYI.
"We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are." Anais Nin | | "Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious." George Orwell

JoeRetire
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Re: In Praise of Classic Works on Kindle

Post by JoeRetire » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:53 pm

If you search a bit, you are likely to find that many of the classics are free on Kindle:
https://smile.amazon.com/b?node=2245146011

In addition, you can get many books (classic or otherwise) for free from your local city's library.

I live in Massachusetts. Although I am outside of Boston, I can still get a free account at the Boston Public Library that lets me borrow Kindle books.
https://bpl.overdrive.com/search?format=ebook-kindle

You could check out your local large city.

I like free.

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cinghiale
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Re: In Praise of Classic Works on Kindle

Post by cinghiale » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:02 pm

Good point.

But I like highlighting and making notations. Kindle allows that. And, for a mere 99 cents (well... OK... $1.06 with state taxes), the work remains “on my shelf” and always available. A mighty small price to pay.
"We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are." Anais Nin | | "Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious." George Orwell

alex_686
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Re: In Praise of Classic Works on Kindle

Post by alex_686 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:06 pm

Project Gutenberg has many classic books free in multiple formats. In fact, many of the free books on Amazon come from here.

https://www.gutenberg.org/

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David Jay
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Re: In Praise of Classic Works on Kindle

Post by David Jay » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:07 pm

I went back and read almost everything by Charles Dickens over the last 3 or 4 years. Delphi has the Complete Works of Charles Dickens without charge. My recommendations of lesser known works: Our Mutual Friend and Nickolas Nickleby.
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montanagirl
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Re: In Praise of Classic Works on Kindle

Post by montanagirl » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:19 pm

I've been reading the complete works of Anthony Trollope for way over a year.
Best $0.0 I've ever spent. :sharebeer

therub
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Re: In Praise of Classic Works on Kindle

Post by therub » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:37 pm

cinghiale wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:47 pm
... it is particularly irksome when the Kindle price exceeds the paperback or even the hardcover edition of a book. The classics deliver a splendid exception.
Another resource for free book that are out of copyright is https://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Free_Kindle_Books

I find the overpriced ebooks (defined as ebooks that are more expensive than physical books) particularly frustrating. My personal strategy - and this is not legal, but it is ethical (in my opinion - please tell me if you disagree) - is to buy a used paperback and then pirate the overpriced e-book. It removes a copy from circulation, but allows me to read it in my preferred medium.

I love the convenience of ebooks, but, we've really lost something when media are no longer transferable. I love giving a book away after I read it; something that I can no longer do with an ebook, and I don't appreciate having to re-buy a book every time a new digital format comes out - something that hasn't happened with ebooks yet, but happens every few years with music and video.

I have no trouble paying for content and as a content producer, I believe strongly in the model, but the model must be rational, and there needs to be feedback mechanisms.
Fees are the rub.

balofagus
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Re: In Praise of Classic Works on Kindle

Post by balofagus » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:41 pm

alex_686 wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:06 pm
Project Gutenberg has many classic books free in multiple formats. In fact, many of the free books on Amazon come from here.

https://www.gutenberg.org/
In addition, I’d suggest Standard Ebooks.

therub
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Re: In Praise of Classic Works on Kindle

Post by therub » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:43 pm

balofagus wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:41 pm
alex_686 wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:06 pm
Project Gutenberg has many classic books free in multiple formats. In fact, many of the free books on Amazon come from here.

https://www.gutenberg.org/
In addition, I’d suggest Standard Ebooks.
Thanks - that does look great. Project Gutenberg output can be a bit "raw".
Fees are the rub.

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Pajamas
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Re: In Praise of Classic Works on Kindle

Post by Pajamas » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:44 pm

cinghiale wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:02 pm
Good point.

But I like highlighting and making notations. Kindle allows that. And, for a mere 99 cents (well... OK... $1.06 with state taxes), the work remains “on my shelf” and always available. A mighty small price to pay.
What people are telling you is that out-of-copyright classics are available for free on Kindle via Amazon. No need to pay anything at all.

https://www.amazon.com/b?node=2245146011

There are actually a LOT of free books for Kindle, you just have to know how to look for them. Use the left-hand menu to navigate by category.

https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Kin ... =UTF8&tf=1

One caution: Books can go from being free to pay but still appear on the free list for a while, so double-check the price before clicking the buy button. Authors often offer their books free for a limited period of time hoping to get sales ranking and reviews.

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cinghiale
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Re: In Praise of Classic Works on Kindle

Post by cinghiale » Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:00 pm

Pajamas wrote,
There are actually a LOT of free books for Kindle, you just have to know how to look for them. Use the left-hand menu to navigate by category.

https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Kin ... =UTF8&tf=1

One caution: Books can go from being free to pay but still appear on the free list for a while, so double-check the price before clicking the buy button. Authors often offer their books free for a limited period of time hoping to get sales ranking and reviews.
That’s a useful link! Thanks. I still don’t think paying a dollar for a well-formatted “complete works” set (that doesn’t show up on the free list after numerous look-throughs) is a waste of money, but I certainly like “free” as much as anyone else. Even cheaper still!
"We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are." Anais Nin | | "Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious." George Orwell

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cinghiale
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Re: In Praise of Classic Works on Kindle

Post by cinghiale » Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:32 pm

A quick aside...

Dan Ariely and Daniel Kahneman, among others, would have some fun with the thread this far. If the topic concerned a question or comment about a book or product priced at $27.95 instead of $28.95, it would likely attract little interest and would likely go unanswered. A one dollar difference? Big deal. If most of us are going to pay $27.95, then usually there isn’t much resistance to paying $28.95 instead. That’s what Ariely’s fun little experiments bear out.

But paying a dollar when there’s the option of free? Now, that’s a game changer.

Free has such great appeal, as Ariely has chronicled in his books. We simply act differently about things when they are free. And, again, we think differently about the difference of a particular cost and “free” than we do about the same monetary difference between, say, thirty dollars and thirty-one dollars.

Not to imply lack of gratitude for the options to get free Kindle titles. I’ll be happy with free, and I’ll be thankful to obtain a 20-volume set for a dollar as well.
"We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are." Anais Nin | | "Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious." George Orwell

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Pajamas
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Re: In Praise of Classic Works on Kindle

Post by Pajamas » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:02 pm

cinghiale wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:00 pm

That’s a useful link! Thanks. I still don’t think paying a dollar for a well-formatted “complete works” set (that doesn’t show up on the free list after numerous look-throughs) is a waste of money, but I certainly like “free” as much as anyone else. Even cheaper still!
No, it's not at all. A dollar or so is pretty amazing for a book especially since that price is a recent revolution. How quickly we have gone to wanting media of all sorts for free! Books, movie, music, there is almost TOO MUCH MEDIA available at this point.

Some of the free versions aren't the best quality as far as format, but some of the paid ones aren't either. Reviews can help with that.

Pretty much anyone can sell an e-book of an out-of-copyright work. Traditional publishing houses usually tack on some kind of introduction or study guide to justify the cost.

Project Gutenberg was distributing on Amazon, not sure if they still are as there were some formatting issues with some of their work.

JoeRetire
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Re: In Praise of Classic Works on Kindle

Post by JoeRetire » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:11 pm

cinghiale wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:32 pm
Free has such great appeal, as Ariely has chronicled in his books. We simply act differently about things when they are free.
Very true!

For me, Free versus Not Free is a binary scenario. $X versus $X+Y is not.

At my stage of life, there's very little overall difference between spending full price for any ebook I wish to read. Yet I still put a hold on most of the books I want at the library website and eventually read them for free. And I still download almost any book that is free.

I always have plenty of unread books on my Kindle waiting their turn. When I start reading a book, if it turns out to be a dud I delete it and move on to the next one. Back when I was watching my money more closely, I would have forced myself to finish it (Ariely's sunk costs be damned! :happy )

Getting things for free still makes me happy. And being happy is what retirement is all about, IMHO.

Nicolas
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Re: In Praise of Classic Works on Kindle

Post by Nicolas » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:31 pm

Some classics are simply scanned in from print and converted to text using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and never proofread and corrected. The result is really annoying to read as the machine-read text contains many typos!
Last edited by Nicolas on Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rob65
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Re: In Praise of Classic Works on Kindle

Post by rob65 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:44 pm

Search “AmazonClassics Edition Free Books” in the kindle store to find a line of classics directly from Amazon. They seem to have good kindle formatting.

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telemark
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Re: In Praise of Classic Works on Kindle

Post by telemark » Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:48 pm

David Jay wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:07 pm
Delphi has the Complete Works of Charles Dickens without charge. My recommendations of lesser known works: Our Mutual Friend
In which it is established that trash is indeed cash :)

bberris
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Re: In Praise of Classic Works on Kindle

Post by bberris » Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:40 am

If Project Gutenberg does not have the book you are looking for, try here:

https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/

bdylan
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Re: In Praise of Classic Works on Kindle

Post by bdylan » Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:46 am

Guys, overdrive (a library book app) is your friend. Don’t just get the classics free, get all the books for free from your local library.

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nisiprius
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Re: In Praise of Classic Works on Kindle

Post by nisiprius » Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:00 am

Decoding what seems to be happening in the Kindle world with Project Gutenberg texts: most or all of the Project Gutenberg texts are available as Kindle books.

If nobody has done anything to them, they will be available for free, just download them like any other book from the Amazon Kindle library and they magically appear.

However, once someone takes the text, gussies it up a bit (usually by adding a cover picture and making sure that the table of contents is in the right format so that it links and shows up as a Kindle table of contents), and resubmits it as a paid version, Amazon removes the free version. Many of the "$0.99" classic titles are just Project Gutenberg texts with minimal editing; many of the $2.99 "collected works" are just collections of Project Gutenberg texts.

If you go directly to the Project Gutenberg site, you can download the same titles in Kindle format at no cost--but you have to figure out how to get the downloaded file into the "books" directory of your Kindle.

Whether the low-cost versions represent enough value added to justify the price debatable. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Plays and poetry in particular are often problematical when directly downloaded from Project Gutenberg; the people who create the paid versions sometimes put in the work to get them properly formatted and sometimes do not. Before paying for a cheap version of a "classic" play or book of poetry, it is prudent to get the free "try a sample" to see whether the formatting is acceptable to you.

A "collected works" volume will sometimes mysteriously include earlier but not later works from an author. That is often a tip-off that it is a collection of PG texts--the collection includes titles that were published before 1923 or are otherwise in the public domain, and not those published after.

What you're allowed to do with Project Gutenberg texts (see the "legal fine print" in the actual texts from the Project Gutenberg site) is interesting. You are allowed to repurpose them, perhaps change them, and sell them for money, provided you remove everything that says it is from Project Gutenberg. So while I really hate it that people reformat and sell PG texts without saying that's what they are, I believe they are actually not allowed to say so.
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Broken Man 1999
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Re: In Praise of Classic Works on Kindle

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:28 am

My first e-reader was a B&N (Barnes & Noble) Nook. B&N made available for download (free) of scads of books they also sold as hardbacks under their B&N Classics collection. I just counted the downloaded freebies and I have 83. I downloaded so many of the classics mainly for my grandchildren. Seems now the B&N Classics cost $3.99 to download to a Nook.

My granddaughters are voracious readers, but I have to be careful as some of the books in the B&N Classic collection aren't appropriate for tender young eyes, such as Lady Chatterley's Lover, or Sons and Lovers. :shock:

Far too soon after purchasing my Nook, I misplaced it. One daughter offered a new e-reader for my Christmas present, so I received an Amazon Paperwhite Kindle. I believed at the time B&N wasn't long for the world.

A few years after losing my Nook, I found it. Wouldn't turn on so went to a B&N store, and was advised they didn't carry the batteries! :oops: But, they graciously offered to sell me a new Nook. Nope, I located a battery seller on Amazon or maybe EBay and revived my Nook.

So now I have two e-readers. I like both of them about the same, though the Amazon Paperwhite is much better in the sun.

I will have to check out Amazon's e-reader classics. Thanks for the tip!

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

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