The gold mine of e-books

 [Jeff Stahler]

I had just finished reading the good news kindly sent by Amazon in a promotional email today (the first version of their cute wireless reading device, the Kindle, is on sale) when another nice email popped up in my inbox. One of the members of the Association of Internet Researchers mailing list (which is great - you can subscribe here) posted a link to the most complete list of websites offering free e-books I've ever came across. Of course I'm passing it forward here :)
I love print books and I usually spend a couple of hours every week browsing the university library shelves, but sometimes one just wants to scroll the screen instead of flipping pages, I guess. I have browsed most of the websites for academic business, consumer culture or other related topics, and there are not many books available. Still, some of the websites are really good and there are lots of interesting readings in many different categories.
So here's the list with some comments (the ones in italics are mine) and the link to the original post at Hongkiat.com.

  1. Free Ebook Download Links

  2. Free Ebook Download Links intends to provide links for downloading books available free in different format.The books are published online by their authors for free viewing and printing for non-commercial proposes only. Credit: Raj + Don't get disappointed by the small number indicated beside each category. When you click on Zen (1), for example, 18 titles come up as a result. 
  3. eBoook3000

  4. A library of free ebook downloads with over 17 categories available. Credit: Myo Kyaw Htun + Most titles relate to internet, networking, web development and programming. There are some interesting titles in Political and Social category, but most of the links I've tried were broken. 
  5. SlideShare

  6. SlideShare is the best way to share your presentations with the world. Let your ideas reach a broad audience. Share publicly or privately. Add audio to create a webinar. Credit: La Ode Adam
  7. PDF Search Engine

  8. PDF Search Engine is a book search engine search on sites, forums, message boards for pdf files. You can find and download a tons of e-books by searching it or browsing through the full directory. Credit: iphoner + No categories to browse, so it works better when you're looking for a specific title. It has PDF on the title, but you get books as .doc too :) 

  9. eSnips
  10. eSnips is the one place where you can share anything you want, about any topic: your thoughts, your photos, your music, your videos, your flash files, stuff you find on the web, and many other media types. You can search and download for free documents in eSnips as well.Credit: sandeep, syokkahwin, Suresh

  11. Book Gold Mine
  12. Book Gold Mine serves a large collection of quality e-books, lectures, notes, and other kinds of documents at no cost to the user.Credit: Gio

  13. eBooks-Space
  14. Free downloadable ebooks for computer IT, programming lauguages, software development, tutorial, database design in PDF-CHM file format.Credit: mongther +Again, most titles are internet related, and the yellow text on red background is a bit overwhelming. 
  15. drebooks

  16. The vision of the founder was to provide an online space where Medical Students and Doctors could gather to share and collaborate their information and ideas about medical books. Credit: peter
  17. E-Books Directory

  18. E-Books Directory is a daily growing list of freely downloadable ebooks, documents and lecture notes found all over the internet. You can submit and promote your own ebooks, add comments on already posted books or just browse through the directory below and download anything you need.Credit: Stam +I like its browsing system. Check their Computer and Internet Culture category, it has some neat titles. It also includes its own list of links and resources for e-books related websites.  
  19. UFindBook

  20. UFindBook offers free ebooks download more than 200,000 titles categorized in format of pdf, chm, html. Credit: sobookee
  21. Books-PDF

  22. Books-PDF provides free ebooks for .Net, 3D animation, accounting, AJAX, algorithms, ASP.NET, AutoCAD, C#, C++, Database and etc.Credit: ganesh
  23. PDFoo

  24. PDFoo.com was developed for free services to provide resources of PDF files. All files based on popular section and it short by number of the most download by people. Browse through the category section will lead you find the PDF files that you are looking for. Every time people download, or system will counting how many times it has download by people. Credit: Delaserna
  25. Free Ebook Down

  26. Free Ebook Down offers over 10,000 free ebooks in 22 categories. Credit: ebook
  27. eBooks Download Free

  28. ebooks download free is One of the biggest books sharing websites that contains large collection of pdf and chm books free download you can download free books in many categories: Computer books like free php ebooks to download, ADO.NET, AJAX, java, ajax, photoshop, javascript Exchange Server, Sharepoint , ASP.NET XML free books downloads, c# and c+ books. Credit: bookm

  29. PDFGeni
  30. PDFGeni is a dedicated pdf search engine for PDF ebooks, sheets, forms and documents.
  31. CHM PDF

  32. A collection of general interest and technical ebooks.
  33. eBook-X

  34. eBook-x lets you to download popular free ebooks, classical free ebooks, new releases and more.
  35. Spotbit

  36. Spotbit.com provides paperless solution to publishing industry which end result is an E-Book make available in a unique and standalone digital format that is different from most formats available in the current market.
  37. Ebook Share

  38. eBook Share provides free ebooks download in torrent format.You can search for an ebook in categories like magazine, programming, graphic design, networking, business and investing and the others. On the original post there was also a link for "Free e-books Canada", a website that is not accessible. I couldn't locate it on Google either. If anyone knows this website, let me know!

More Free eBook resources

  1. PlanetPDF – A small collection of classic novels all in PDF format.
  2. DailyLit – Read books online by daily email and RSS feed.
  3. Wikibooks – Wikibooks is a Wikimedia community for creating a free library of educational textbooks that anyone can edit.
  4. Dwalin – Free novels in text format.
  5. Project Gutenberg – Free ebooks from producers.
  6. Adobe Free eBooks – In Adobe’s Free eBooks area, you can download, unlock, and read electronic books on your personal computer or reading device.
  7. Alive & Free – A page of links to some recent books from living authors available free online.
  8. Franklin – Thousands of free titles in text and HTML file formats.
  9. Read Easily – An ebook online library which has been designed to provide you an adaptive reading experience!
  10. PDFbooks – This new site offers around 4,700 downloadable public domain e-books.
  11. Witguides – An online source for a wide range of useful e-books that are completely free with no need to sign-up or buy anything.
  12. Diesel eBooks -Offer free ebooks formatted for both Microsoft Reader and Mobipocket.
  13. Free eBook Miners
    Free eBooks for your education, research or amusement.
  14. Planet eBook
    Free classic literature to download and share.
  15. e-Library – Plenty of free ebooks available for download.
  16. BookBoon – Provides free ebooks for students and travelers in PDF format. No registration is required. 
And...there's more!

  1. Filebook – Free eBooks download in zipped format.
  2. ebooksboard – Free eBooks download portal.
  3. Computer-Books.us – Highest quality computer books all of which are available for free download.
  4. 76eBook – Free ebooks download for IT, business and multimedia.
  5. Linux Related Free Ebooks – 68 Linux Related Free E-books.
  6. TechBooksForFreeFree books on technology subjects.
  7. Wowio – WOWIO is passion for FREE BOOKS + FREE MINDS.
  8. Freeebooks – Free ebooks are divided into different categories from business, art, computing and education.
  9. Witguides – The premier online source for a wide range of useful e-books that are completely free with no need to sign-up or buy anything.
  10. Issuu – Issue lets you find and share the web’s most interesting publications.


Fordlandia and Belterra

Currently, there are two ways to get to Fordlandia, the city build by Henry Ford in the middle of the Amazon jungle: departing from Santarém by boat (a 12-hour trip) or by car (330km of hell roads, great option for someone looking for a 4x4 adventure). Nearby is Belterra, the second village built by Ford after abandoning Fordlandia in 1934. Belterra’s rubber plantation actually reached the rubber-production stage around 1941, but the village and plantation were also abandoned in 1945-6, when the project was proved unprofitable. Both, Fordlandia and Belterra survive down to the present day, being administered by the Brazilian federal government after Ford’s exit.

In a series of email exchanges, I learned from Mario Pinheiro, who was born in Belterra, that all employees who worked for the Ford Company in both villages were admitted as employees by the Brazilian agriculture ministry department. After unsuccessful attempts by the Brazilian government to promote cattle raising in the area, the few employees who were still living in the villages were transferred to larger cities to work in governmental departments.

For decades, the Federal government administered the cities, requiring that consent was obtained for any local development, which probably hampered the growth of the two villages. It was only in 1997 that Belterra became an independent township, while Fordlandia is currently considered a subdivision of another township, Aveiro.

Belterra, Aveiro, and two other townships are part of the “Floresta Nacional do Tapajós” (Tapajós’s National Forest), a 550,000ha national conservation area. While being part of a conservational area imposes limits to external investments in the area, having an independent administration and budget has allowed Belterra to advance the local economic development and also to preserve its history. Belterra’s beautiful river beaches attract many visitors to the city, so tourism is currently an important source of income to local dwellers. In contrast, Fordlandia seems to have stopped in time, and its early buildings are in a pitiful state of conservation. Few families still live in the place, practicing subsistence agriculture, and receiving their income from government retirement pensions.

Fordlandia and Belterra were failures in terms of generating profits though rubber plantation, but the social aspects of Ford’s envisioned cities can be said to be more successful. Participants on the Fordlandia online community seem to be nostalgic of the city and its “good times”. As Mario, one of the participants, explained, in contrast to most of Brazil’s northern region, both villages had excellent infrastructure, with sewage and water treatment, electricity, schools, a hospital and a movie theatre, all of which have positively influenced the cultural development of the local population.

Many people got to know each other while living in the villages and working for the Ford Company. This was the beginning of families who, to the date, populate both places. Belterra and Fordlandia are frequently visited by researchers, journalists, and film makers. Dona Olinda, one of the few remaining people who have worked for the Ford Company in Belterra, has given countless interviews. Her 100th birthday, celebrated last month, was a community affair, as she is considered the one who keeps the city history alive.

That’s it! I might be planning a visit to the area in my next trip to Brazil... If you want to know more about Fordlandia, here’s an article published a couple of years ago in the Brazilian Rolling Stone (If you don’t read Portuguese, take a look at the article’s picture gallery) and a short documentary in English from the History Channel, which was part of a larger program called "Amazon Adventures". The link was posted by Scott Chandler, who recently came back from a two-month research trip to Fordlandia and Belterra.

All pictures on this post were taken by Mario Pinheiro - thanks Mario!