Wes Boyd's
Spearfish Lake Tales
Contemporary Mainstream Books and Serials Online
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Online Book Links

My daughter is a bookworm in every sense of the word. Back when she was getting set to go to China with the Peace Corps, she was making plans to have us mail her enough of her book collection to keep her going.

Now, I didn't think too much of the idea -- mostly because it costs about $50 to send a ten-pound box to her. That's not a lot of books, even in paperback, and I knew she was going to want a lot of books. So, to keep my wallet from bleeding to death, I suggested that she take a laptop with her, loaded up with free e-books. "There's not that many free e-books out there," she protested.

"Oh, yes there are," I told her. "And some of them are pretty darn good!"

To make a long story short, when she left for China, the laptop in her backpack contained literally thousands of free e-books of one form or another -- some in .txt or .rtf formats, others in .pdf, and yet others in the Microsoft .lit format. I don't know where she found them all, but do know where I found the ones that I contributed. Rather than just list the places, I'll discuss some of them a little.

The Online Books Page is the granddaddy of them all. This is a main University of Pennsylvania repository of online books from the Gutenberg project, and has over 25,000 books online. Most of them are copyright expired, which is to say old -- but that doesn't mean bad! In fact, some of the greatest classics ever written are there. It's a little bit of a hunt, but well worth it.

Eldritch Press -- Eldred Home Page is where I got started on e-books. Nothing like as much as it on the list of the University of Pennsylvania, but good.

Free Online Novels By Jennifer Armstrong. Basically a large if not well sorted collection of links to various author's online novels. Some darn good stuff here, but you'll have to dig for it. It's pretty comprehensive, and I probably get more tracable hits from here than anywhere else.

Beyond the Far Horizon is also amateur based, with some moderation. Focuses on SF and genre fiction. Some of Bruce Bretthauer's stories here are among my absolute all-time favorite online stories! Requires free registration.

Baen Free Library has a collection of many modern and classic science fiction books -- about 100 the last time I looked. Baen is a commercial publisher that has these books online with the theory that once you read the book on the screen you will want to buy it in paper. Jim Baen may be right and it would be neat to see other publishers take this route.

Pages Unbound is a resource for authors of original web fiction and for readers looking for something to read on the web. The focus is on original long-form fiction: web novels, in other words . . . sometimes also known as web serials. If you're a reader, you can find links to interesting stories being developed for the web. If you're an author, you can add a link to your story and share in the growing audience for such work.

That ought to get you started. There is much more if you look for it.

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