HOW TO SPEAK SOUTHERN

Google’s eBook store was launched recently with three million titles. We searched this vast list and found “How to Speak Southern,” a wonderful little book that we regretted not buying when we first saw it in Pinehurst, NC. We never found it again — until now, that is. (A sample translation: “Far” is Southern for “fire.” As in: “I think your house is on far.”)

Google eBook's

You can read the digital books on your computer, iPad or phone. Google’s section called “Best of the Free,” makes it easy to find classics, such as works by Jane Austen, Mark Twain.

This is version one of Google eBooks, so don’t expect the kind of features you see in Kindle books. You can’t share a link to a page or highlight text, for instance. But the next version is expected to let you read books offline; currently you have to be online. You can enlarge the text, change the font, look at the table of contents and jump to locations or specific pages. Browse the books at books.google.com.

A new Kindle app, coming in 2011, will let you read eBooks in your browser, without downloading anything. This may seem like no big deal, since the current Kindle app lets you download eBooks to any computer.  But from a publisher’s point of view, this new app would mean that any website can become a bookstore. Authors will be able to offer Kindle books from their own sites for immediate reading, and can earn referral fees for book sales.

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