As commutes become a chore and time a scarcity, ebooks are bringing the reading habit back. Among the many ebook websites populating the web is eBook Hood. The web service brings a plethora of free eBooks from classics to pop fiction that you can download and read on your mobile device like an iPod.
So how does it differ from the flock? Well, if you can’t find anything to carry around and read then the web service lets you make your own ebooks. A file converter service allows a user to convert text files, documents, RSS feeds and even web pages into eBook format.
The conversion of choice seems to be iPod Notes and this alone makes it worthy of a look. The service splits a large file into smaller iPod manageable chunks and links them up so navigating from one iPod note to the next takes just a scroll. For reading in other devices, text format is a fallback option. The site mentions that PDF is being looked at as another experimental option for reading books on the Sony ebook reader or Bookeen Cybook ebook reader.
The website is still a work in progress and is going through some growing pains but it is still offering some interesting features.
Signing up is easy with just a username and an email address required. The free registration brings some small benefits such as creating a personal profile, voting on books, commenting on books, etc. The website leans strongly towards a community feel. Registered members can add books to their favorite lists and can view each other’s uploaded books once they have added each other in their profiles. “˜Friends’ can then look at each other’s books marked as private or share any which don’t have copyright restrictions.
The search function is provided through a little ‘Google Custom Search’ box. Clicking on any of the relevant results brings us to the download page. Choose the format for download. Download options vary from plain text to iPod notes and also an experimental PDF choice. If available, Sony eBook Reader and Bookeen Cybook formats can also be opted for.
A user can add the book to his favorites, put in a good or a bad word through the comments, read what Amazon says about it and also glimpse a small snippet from the book. A link to Amazon is also provided if purchase becomes a thought.
Upload and convert a text file, a webpage or a RSS feed through the PHP based converter engine. The Web and RSS conversions are not error free. These conversions work best with text-only or with content that has a minimum of formatting. The converted file can be downloaded as zipped iPod notes and inserted into the device.
The community section lists all the latest books that were added recently. There is a listing for the most popular among the downloaded books and one for “˜Top Readers’ i.e. users too.
The service is still very much an unfinished product and the interface has that look too. Though the website’s potential is worth noting. I have used the site to upload and convert but I wish their “˜Catalog’ section was fully functional. The search is still rudimentary though functional. It has returned good results which signify that the site is building up its library. It is an online library but the ability to convert personal notes into iPod files is more than a fringe benefit.
With more conversion tools and a more robust community, eBook Hood could develop into a really good resource.
Do you know of any other sites out there which are similar? Try out this one and let us know.