The following is a Plus Edition article, written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
A newsletter reader wrote and asked, “How can I download books from Google Books and convert them to text that I can read with my iPad?” I might add, “or in some other format?” to his original question.
The quick answer is, “That is super easy to do. In fact, there are several ways to do that.” Today I thought I’d describe the easy steps required.
NOTE: Thousands of out-of-copyright ebooks are available on Google Books and on other web sites as well. Google Books also has many books that are still within copyright but these normally cannot be downloaded in their entirety. Only snippets of copyrighted books may be read online and never downloaded.
You can easily download and save any Google books as PDF files. However, that can be awkward when trying to later read the ebook on a different computer, especially one with a smaller screen (iPad, Kindle, etc.) Also, PDF files downloaded from Google Books typically are not searchable. When you are looking at the pages on your screen, you are looking at IMAGES of the original books, not text. It looks like text to the human eye, but your computer knows that it is displaying a picture of the page. In fact, it is possible to search or convert text information within a PDF file, but you will need sophisticated (and usually expensive) software to convert the PDF into searchable text.
The problem with displaying PDF files on a smaller screen is that the text does not automatically wordwrap to fit the smaller window. You may have to manually scroll from, left to right in order to read each line of text, a tedious process.
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