Upload your books online and read them in your browser, or find new books to read online or download. If you like e-reading at all, Codex Cloud is a site you should check out. Upon launch, this site was full of copy-protected books. That’s changed; uploaded books protected by copyright can now be read only by you. It’s a lot like YouTube for books; people can upload whatever they want and other people can read it.
The inevitable result for YouTube was that lots of videos, that should be protected by copyright, were uploaded and watched for free. So it was inevitable that Codex Cloud, like YouTube, would eventually face litigation from the owners of the intellectual property being shared. This is why there is now protection in place to prevent this. Even without piracy though, this is an intriguing way to read your books online, or find EPUB files for offline reading.
Upload Your Own
To get started, head over to Codex Cloud and sign up for a free account. It’s quick and painless, and once you’re in, you can start using the service. You will see a start page explaining how to use everything; at the top of the screen is an upload button. Click this to start uploading books:
The service primarily supports EPUB and PDF files, so uploading those is the best way to ensure things will be compatible. Use a different format, though, and CodexCloud will try using Calibre to convert your book. Supported formats include cbr, cbc, chm, fb2, html, htmlz, lit, lrf, mobi, odt, prc, pdb, pml, rb, rtf, snb, tcr, txt and txtz. Conversion, like in Calibre, may or may not work out well.
You can upload works protected by copyright, but Codex Cloud will prevent other people from reading or downloading them.
Browsing For Books
Want to check out what’s here instead of uploading your own stuff? Click the “Most Popular” link the left sidebar to start browsing. You will quickly see a series of book covers:
As I said earlier: there were many books here protected by copyright, and I can still find a few. Downloading them is piracy.
Looking for a particular book or author? Try the search function:
Already quite a number of books can be found here, so explore to your heart’s content.
So what is reading like on Codex Cloud? I tested the service on Firefox and found it slow and at times was unable to turn the page at all. I tried again in Chrome and things worked better, but not without annoyances.
A page interface necessitates the need to click and drag or double click in order to turn the page.
If there are other ways to do this I didn’t find them. If anyone at Codex Cloud is reading, please add the spacebar as a way to turn pages. Click and drag is probably great on tablets, but not all of us have one. Check out MagicScroll if you want to see a good online EPUB reader for non-tablets.
Happily, you are not limited to reading these books in Codex Cloud’s online reader. You can easily download books as EPUB files, or find them on Amazon to purchase:
The downloaded EPUB files work perfectly on my Kobo, and will also work on your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, Nook or any e-reader that supports the EPUB standard (that is, pretty much anything except the Kindle).
Like I said, it’s very easy to compare this service to YouTube or GrooveShark, in that content can quickly be uploaded by users and shared regardless of its copyright status. YouTube, threatened by lawsuits, eventually set up a filter and started taking down videos that violated copyright. No such thing is happening at GrooveShark yet, and that service is four years old.
Codex Cloud is following YouTube’s steps. Will this work out for them? Let us know what you think in the comments below, along with any Codex Cloud tips and tricks you might have.