Quality eBooks for Free Download
Welcome to a home of ebooks that are both the best in quality and
absolutely free. The best in quality? At present, well over 2000 other sites
worldwide are serving LimpidSoft pdf books, which suggests that other
book distributors are impressed with the quality. (Incidentally, there
have been suggestions on the Web that LimpidSoft is associated with
other sites. This is simply not true.)
But why free? I am fortunate enough not to need to charge for my
books. From the start, my primary interest has been in developing software to
reprocess books that were already available free from the wonderful
Gutenberg sites, to process them specifically for ebook readers (of the
many different formats) and to produce books that are of much better
quality than many that are commercially available. The books on this
site are the result.
No. There is no charge and no requirement for registration. Perhaps,
if you read many of my books, you might spare a thought for the less
fortunate on our planet. Perhaps, too, you might consider a small
donation to any charity (of your choice) that is attempting to improve
literacy and education in the third world.
The software for creating the LimpidSoft PDF books is now available
for free download. It is free in every sense: no charge and no license
problems (released under the GNU General Public License, any version).
To use the software, you need to have a system with two software packages
- Python3 (preferred) or Python: to convert marked-up text to .tex text;
- A Texlive, or equivalent, package: to process .tex text to a PDF document.
- And you need to be able to use a very simple desktop command for each of these steps.
To clarify your thoughts, you might look at a system overview. Then, if you are interested in using it, download a zip file with a full working environment. Expand it in your home directory and get started!
It really is free!
Recommended Page Formats
LimpidSoft provides a range of quality free ebooks.
The options are:
Page Formats in eBabel: An Overview
- First was the small (6-inch) eBook reader, typified by the Kindle,
Kobo, Nexus and similar readers. Significant here is the page aspect
ratio (shape) of 1.33 (4:3), which has been well accepted in terms of
readability and portability.
- This aspect ratio was later adopted for the very much larger
9.7-inch iPad, detracting somewhat from readability (the lines are
arguably too long) and greatly from portability (size and weight).
- As a possible response to these concerns, the 8-inch iPad Mini appeared, also with a 1.33 aspect ratio.
- The Samsung Galaxy ereaders are available in two main formats: the
10.1-inch and 8-inch models (with aspect ratios of about 1.6) are direct
competitors to the iPad models, while the 7-inch model has an aspect
ratio of about 1.75.
- Most of the available formats are supported directly by one of the
LimpidSoft formats. The best option for narrower formats is probably to
use the A5 printing format. Why? Because the margins are wide,
and are ignored by the ereader. The size of the page block, including
the headers and footers, is about 8 inches and the aspect ratio is about
1.7. Perhaps surprisingly, this has proved to be the most-downloaded
eBooks in eBabel: The Choices
Given the differing display sizes and aspect ratios, an overarching
issue in producing ebooks is the question of how to obtain quality
display of any book on any reader, regardless of the aspect ratio. There
are two broad options:
- Use a reflowable file.; This is a well-established
appoach in HTML browsers: if the viewer shape or size is altered, the
text rearranges itself. For display of ebooks, it is a distinct
compromise as each page needs to be generated dynamically and lacks the
details of physical books, such as page headers and footers, foototes
and cross references.
- Use a PDF File. PDF is the professional standard
for book production and, as such provides high-quality display,
fully-featured pages (with margins, headers, footers and footnotes or
endnotes) and a table of contents. Reflowing of text is not an
option. To understand this, it is useful to think of the pages of a PDF
book as a series of snapshots: they look good, their size can be
altered, but the shape stays the same.
- The LimpidSoft Approach. Each ebook is provided in
several sizes and aspect ratios to match the pages to real-world
devices. This multiplies the shear number of files on this site, but
ensures the best ereading experience.
- When All Else Fails.The final option is to read
books on your computer using the built-in PDF reader. The page size can
be enlarged or reduced to enhance readability---a very attractive option
for vision-impaired readers. And a full-featured PDF reader provides
all of the niceties of PDF, including hot links from the table of
contents, which may be missing from your tablet. This seems to have been
a real hit with the Beatrix Potter illustrated books.
The LimpidSoft Books: The Sources
- It is a pleasure to acknowledge that almost none of these books would exist if it were not for the wonderful and long-established Gutenberg site, which provides versions of books that are old enough to be free from copyright restrictions.
- The Gutenberg books, mainly as text or html files, are the result of
the work of a team of volunteers who have processed copies of these
old books. This is a labour of love!
- At LimpidSoft, the text files are edited, lightly marked up and
processed with specialised scripts to a set of LaTeX text files,
corresponding to books of differing formats.
- Finally, working the free Linux environment, the LaTeX files are processed with free software (pdflatex) to the final eBooks.
For all Shakespeare scholars and enthusiasts, the First Folio
of 1623 occupies a special place, and is now available as a text file
from Project Gutenberg (EBook #100). This is indeed a great asset, but
it has one big disadvantage: it is plain text, with no real styling.
LimpidSoft provides several of the most popular plays as PDF files, with further plays in prospect.
It is a pleasure to acknowledge that Project Gutenberg provides, in
HTML format, most of the well-loved stories of Beatrix Potter. An
important part of the Potter stories is the relationship between the
images and small fragments of text, which can be difficult to achieve in
HTML. LimpidSoft provides PDF versions of some of the most popular stories in A5 format---ideal for display on-screen and on handheld devices.