eBooks @ Adelaide

Robert Louis Stevenson — Updated

Posted in updates by Steve on May 10, 2010

I’m pleased to announce the re-release of the Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, completely refreshed and updated. These were among the first works to be added to our collection, and they were sadly in need of updating. All the works are available for reading online, or downloading as ebooks for your ereader of choice.

Stevenson is well know as the author of Dr Jekyll and adventures such as Treasure Island. Less well known today are his short stories, and his travel pieces. All deserve a wider audience. To quote Wikipedia:

Stevenson was a celebrity in his own time, but with the rise of modern literature after World War I, he was seen for much of the 20th century as a writer of the second class, relegated to children’s literature and horror genres. Condemned by literary figures such as Virginia Woolf, he was gradually excluded from the canon of literature taught in schools. His exclusion reached a height when in the 1973 2,000-page Oxford Anthology of English Literature Stevenson was entirely unmentioned. The late 20th century saw the start of a re-evaluation of Stevenson as an artist of great range and insight, a literary theorist, an essayist and social critic, a witness to the colonial history of the Pacific Islands, and a humanist. Even as early as 1965 the pendulum had begun to swing: he was praised by Roger Lancelyn Green, one of the Oxford Inklings, as a writer of a consistently high level of “literary skill or sheer imaginative power” and a co-originator with H. Rider Haggard of the Age of the Story Tellers. He is now being re-evaluated as a peer of authors such as Joseph Conrad (whom Stevenson influenced with his South Seas fiction) and Henry James, with new scholarly studies and organizations devoted to his work. No matter what the scholarly reception, Stevenson remains very popular around the world. He is ranked the 25th most translated author in the world, ahead of fellow nineteenth-century writers Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde and Edgar Allan Poe.

Changes

Posted in updates by Steve on April 26, 2010

Yes, it’s been quiet on this blog lately, but there has been a lot happening behind the scenes, First, the upgrade program is proceeding — I’m about half-way through updating the 1700+ books in the collection.

Second — a big change — is that all the books can now be downloaded as epub format files, suitable for many e-readers, including (with conversion) the Kindle. The download files now all have the .epub extension, rather than .zip. They are still, in fact, zip archive files, and can still be opened by software such as WinZip. But the file name extension change means that they can now be properly recognised as ebooks by browsers and ereader software.

Third: some of you may have heard of Facebook, and about their recent changes. So we now provide a “Like” button on every Author page in our site:

This is either a big deal, or a trivial waste of space, depending on how you feel about Facebook. But it seems at least a harmless addition, and may prove to be a good means of promoting our site and ebooks generally. Please be assured that no data passes between this site and Facebook. Clicking on Like will pass data only from your browser to Facebook and back. We collect no data about users of this site.

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Bookbinding, and the Care of Books

Posted in Uncategorized by Steve on March 31, 2010

Bookbinding, and the Care of Books : A Handbook for Amateurs Bookbinders & Librarians / Douglas Cockerell ; with drawings by Noel Rooke, and other illustrations.

There’s a certain delicious irony about releasing an ebook about the care and binding of print books.

Though still a valuable work, some things have changed somewhat since this was first published [1901]:

Smoking was found to be injurious, and it is certainly a mistake to allow it in libraries.

… touch both sides of the sheets where they have been stained with a brush dipped in essence of turpentine heated to boiling-point.

I’d like to see that get past the Health & Safety Committee!

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Updated: J. Sheridan Le Fanu

Posted in updates by Steve on March 29, 2010

The work on upgrading all of our ebooks continues. I’m up to “L”. This being a rather repetitive business, I took a little time out to add to the collection of works by Le Fanu, acknowledged master of the gothic horror genre, and one of its earlier proponents. There’s one new novel, The House by the Churchyard, and a large number of new short stories, including Spalatro, a creepy gothic tale which prefigures the Vampire genre, as well as lots of ghost stories. Perfect for lonely nights.

There are still more works to be added. I’m currently proofing the novel The Wyvern Mystery. But it being from a poor scan, there are still many, many errors to fix.

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Petr Kropotkin: free web books, online

Posted in Uncategorized by Steve on March 19, 2010

A propos of nothing in particular (a friend mentioned it in passing) I have added a new edition of Petr Kropotkin‘s Mutual Aid, about which Wikipedia says:

Written partly in response to Social Darwinism and in particular to Thomas H. Huxley’s Nineteenth Century essay, “The Struggle for Existence,” Kropotkin’s book drew on his experiences in scientific expeditions in Siberia to illustrate the phenomenon of cooperation. After examining the evidence of cooperation in nonhuman animals, “savages,” “barbarians,” in medieval cities, and in modern times, he concludes that cooperation and mutual aid are as important in the evolution of the species as competition and mutual strife, if not more so.

Enjoy!

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The Sentimental Bloke, by C.J. Dennis

Posted in Uncategorized by Steve on January 26, 2010

It’s Australia Day here, so I wanted to publish something quintessentially Australian by way of celebration. The Magic Puddingwould have been good, but it’s still under copyright. And I’d already published For the term of his natural life, a grim tale of convict life, which in any event would not be a cheerful celebration.

So finally, after two or three minutes of careful deliberation, I decided upon The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke, by  C. J. Dennis. This is a tale — in verse — of a likely lad from Sydney, who is reformed when he meets, woos and marries the love of his life, Doreen.

Beautifully illustrated by Hal Gye.

Happy Australia Day!

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All our books now available for your eReader*

Posted in Uncategorized by Steve on January 24, 2010

I’m excited! Because, after a huge effort last week, all of our eBooks can now be downloaded (uploaded?) to an eReader device* that supports the ePub standard, including Sony, BeBook, Bookeen, B&N nook, and — my favourite — the iPhone (using Stanza).

Just navigate our web site to the author page listing the title you want, then click on the green download button to download the zip file. The zip conforms to the ePub standard so should be recognised by your device. Note that I don’t actually have any of these devices to play with, so please let me know if there are “issues”. It does work well with Stanza on the iPhone.

* Sorry Kindle users: you should have bought a device that supports open standards. 😦

Kindle and the future of reading : The New Yorker

Posted in Uncategorized by Steve on January 24, 2010

Interesting article here from Nicholson Baker of the New Yorker, presenting a somewhat different view of the Kindle:

Kindle and the future of reading : The New Yorker.

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Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900

Posted in Uncategorized by Steve on January 11, 2010

Well, we’re having a heat-wave in Adelaide, and it was too hot all weekend to go outside. The good news is that it gave me time to add more ebooks to our site! I already had a collection of Oscar Wilde‘s poetry. New titles added this weekend include The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the two collections of fables, The Happy Prince and A House of Pomegranates.

(Personally, I find the Happy Prince to be a rather miserable story, as is the Nightingale and the Rose. But The Fisherman and his Soul is an extraordinary tale which resonated well with me.)

The Happy Prince is also beautifully illustrated by Charles Robinson. In fact it took me hours of work to get the images properly aligned, so you’d better appreciate it!

After doing all that, I then set to work on Wilde’s play,Salomé. Although there were copies of the original French version of the play available online, I could not find a version in English, as an ebook. So I made one — we now have Salomé : A Tragedy in One Act, featuring the very nice illustrations of Aubrey Beardsley, the master of Art Nouveau illustration.

Which, finally, led me to also create The Art of Aubrey Beardsley, with an introduction by Arthur Symons and 64 illustrations.

As always, I welcome your feedback. (And a cool change in the weather, please!)

A new look for the new year; or, What I did on my holidays!

Posted in Uncategorized by Steve on January 5, 2010

To celebrate the new year, I’ve given the eBooks@Adelaide site a new look. Not a major change to the site, but a slightly fresher and cleaner look. The most significant change was mentioned in my precious post: the author pages now use mini icons for the links to individual books, indicating the link to read (on screen), print (or view complete text) and download (a zip archive file). Where the link is to a file or page on another site, I’ve used a link icon.

I’ve also updated and refreshed every author page, so that they all contain at least a brief biography and a portrait of the author (where available). It can be difficult finding photographs of those ancient Greeks! 😉

And of course I’ve continued updating individual books, and adding new titles. We now have more that 1600 titles available!

As always, I welcome your feedback.

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