Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Read an E-Book Week

March 7-13, 2010 is "Read an E-Book Week" -- here is a list of various places online where you can get an e-book. Most of the places listed are offering free e-books (if not exclusively, then in addition to the ones you can buy) and others are offering discounts on their e-books in celebration.

I'm currently reading four books, two of which are e-books. Actually one and a half are e-books, since I'm reading two hardcopy paper versions and one pure e-book. The third I'm toggling between reading the e-book version on my iPhone when I'm out and about, and the extremely heavy 1000 page hardcover on my bed-side nightstand. (The back-and-forth between the two mediums depending on where I am has been a wonderful experience, making me look forward to a time where publishers perhaps "bundle" a free e-book version into the hard-cover purchase of a book)

I wanted to take the time to point people to an e-book version of the last book I had the pleasure of working on. Campus Chills, (which I edited), was produced by the bookstores at University of Alberta, Waterloo and McMaster.

The book (which retails in print version for $19.99 and is still available at the bookstores mentioned above as well as a selection of other wonderful independent bookstores across Canada), is now available as an ebook on Kobobooks.com for $9.99.

One of the things I like about Kobobooks (besides their Canadian roots), is the open manner in which you can read your ebooks from them. Rather than be hardware based, they let you read the book online or via a variety of different free applications. You can download free applications to read on the most popular smartphones, such as the iPhone, Blackberry, Palm Pre or Android.

Go check it out -- you can sample a bit of Campus Chills for free. And I strongly encourage you to do so, because Douglas Smith's incredible story "Radio Nowhere" is available completely for free.

You can either read it online or on your smart-phone. Doug's story is a wonderfully touching and thrilling tale that takes place at the University of Waterloo and involves the campus radio station, time displacement, and a duck. It's a "Twilight-Zone" style story that brings together elements of science fiction and atmospheric horror wonderfully and is not to be missed.

But, of course, as the editor of Campus Chills I'm a bit biased. So don't just take my word for it. Consider the fact that "Radio Nowhere" has recently been nominated for a Prix Aurora Award (Canada's premier science fiction award) for 2010 in the English short-story category.

Doug's story opens with the following line:

"On the anniversary of the worst night of his life, Liam stood outside the darkened control room of the campus radio station. Over the speakers, the Tragically Hip's "Boots and Hearts" was just winding down. Behind the glass in the studio, Ziggy's small triangular face glowed like some night angel, lit from below by her laptop screen. She looked up, her eyes finding Liam's in the darkness. Smiling, she wrinkled her nose at him. His own smile slid away, falling into the dark place inside him, the place that was always darker on this night."
- from "Radio Nowhere" by Douglas Smith

Okay, how can that opening paragraph not inspire you to go read the rest of the story? Seriously, STOP READING THIS BLOG POST and go read Doug's story now. The rest of this post is just me blathering on -- but Doug's story, now that's something worth reading.

Here is a picture of Douglas Smith doing a reading at Waterloo during the October 22, 2009 cross-Canada launch of the anthology. (Doug appeared with Julie E. Czerneda and James Alan Garder -- all three are Waterloo Alumni) -- BTW, the picture is blurry because the person taking the picture was so ultimately spellbound by Doug's story that they had trouble focusing on the camera operation.

Here is one of Doug signing copies of Campus Chills at the Waterloo event.

And here's a picture of Doug from a book launch and reading he did at the McMaster bookstore last year for the launch of his first collection Impossibilia. (His latest collection is called Chimerascope)

If you're still reading this instead of checking out Doug's story, I might as well re-link to the free story at Kobobooks.com -- if you don't have time to read it right now, download the app to your smartphone and read Doug's great story at your convenience while waiting in line at the grocery store or somewhere else where you find yourself with a few minutes to read and nothing on you but your phone.

If you like Doug's story, then chances are you'll like the other 12 stories in Campus Chills. All of them are set on campuses across Canada and written by some of the finest writers I've had the pleasure of working with and reading. And yes, they all have a special kind of chill to them (the stories, not the writers -- the writers have a special something about them, but the stories they wrote for Campus Chills, well, that's where the chills lie)

Or, hey, if you're still sticking around and reading this, I might as well toss in some self-promotional activity and say that if you want some other free stuff to read via Kobo, then check out my short story "Distractions" and "Active Reader" -- both are also available entirely free.

So there, if you've never had an e-book reading experience, I just provided links to 3 complete short stories you can enjoy without having to spend a dime. Not a bad way to celebrate "read an e-book week."

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