mark twainThe next time you're stuck at the airport, why not while away the hours with a classic book like Great Expectations or The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes? No need to buy a copy at the newsstand, or visit the library; thanks to Google's ongoing book-scanning project, over 1.5 million e-books are available formatted for your PC, iPhone, or cell phones using Google's Android OS. Best of all, this compendium of wisdom is free.

At present, the books are only accessable while online, but a Google Spokesperson tells me that the company plans to enable offline access to these books in the near future.

For those using smartphones such as the Blackberry, I can recommend Mobipocket, a program and content vendor that offers free downloads of classics as well as over 65,000 premium (i.e., you have to pay for them) titles. During a recent power outage, I downloaded the Mobipocket reader and a Lee Child novel. I found the reading experience perfectly satisfying.

Smart phone and PDA readers can take advantage of Project Gutenberg's huge warehouse of classics, available in several open-source formats, including Pucker, a free reader program.


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