Esnips, File sharing and Ebooks

I was doing a Google search on the subject of ebooks (no surprise!) and I stumbled onto esnips.com. It’s a site that offers free online storage for up to five gigabytes worth of your electronic files—music, photos, art, texts, whatever. All you have to do is provide an email address and sign up and you’re good to go. You can upload files, make them public or private, share them with friends or business associates, look at and/or download other people’s files and, in general, share: your knowledge, your esthetic eye, your taste, your humor, your whimsy.

It seems as if these sorts of things are proliferating madly. Since I keep an eye on the online world for reasons both personal (plain curiosity among them) and professional (I do most of my work online, one way or another), I’m aware of a current business phenomenon called Web 2.0. There are many, many startup companies these days that are convinced that if they can come up with the perfect combination of tools and services they will be able to attract millions or tens of millions of participants (read: customers) who will join their site, visit regularly and spend lots of time, recruit their social groups to use the site as a meeting place, etc., etc. Since no one is asking you to pay for that online storage space, for hosting your personal website (MySpace, FaceBook, and on and on…) or for whatever else it is that the site might do, you have to wonder who is paying for it all and the answer is, often enough, advertisers eager to put their products in front of your eyes and willing to pay for that opportunity. But I digress…

Ebooks are what got me started and they’re the ostensible subject of this blog so that’s where I’m getting back to. The source that turned me on to the site specifically mentioned ebooks as one of the things you were likely to find a lot of on the site, worth a browse to see what you might find that would be of personal interest. I did some scouting around and I found an item or two of interest, including some short stories posted by other members, a couple of titles by H. G. Wells, including The War of the Worlds as a PDF file, including a link to yet another site, planetpdf.com, which I had not previously been aware of. On the main page of that site was a link, which took me to a page offering a sampling of ebooks in PDF file format: Free PDF eBooks.

I was about to get all bent out of shape about copyright issues on esnips.com (lots more on that in another posting sometime soon) when I saw J.R.R. Tolkien’s name several times and assumed that someone had posted unauthorized copies of his still-in-copyright works but I was happily surprised to note that the files were marked as having been flagged by other users as suspect and were under review before being made available. A self-policing system that seems to work—good stuff. Of course, there were some other items where that nasty copyright issue might have been more pertinent and the prose section (small though it is in these early days) seemed to be well-supplied with MP3 files of songs, a bit of a stretch in classification terms, but the wonderful, horrible thing about volunteer labor, which all of these sorts of sites live and die by, is that you get what you pay for and quality of thinking and organizational ability can end up somewhere on the low end of the scale.

Of course, what we want you to do is buy E-Reads ebooks. Even though we don’t have Tolkien titles available, we do have quite a selection of material by a very diverse group of authors and we’re hoping that this blog will pique your interest just enough to get you to come and browse. I practically guarantee you’ll find something you want to read and own. Just glance around on the page you’re reading, click a link or search for an author name or book title to see what we have. At least we’ve got everything pretty well organized and we guarantee to solve your problems if you have them with any of our products—but, then, we’re not giving them away for free.

– John
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