Written on 03/08/13 at 1:09 pm by eBook-mom

Manybooks is a free e-book website that does a great job of making e-books from Project Gutenberg and other public domain and creative sources, accessible.  According to the Manybooks About Us page, as of July 2004, the most current Project Gutenberg texts are available at Manybooks within a week of their release.  Making an e-book accessible is sometimes more than just providing a download link.  Manybooks provides book statistics, book summaries, excerpts and reviews that make choosing an e-book easier.

A well designed website

I spend a lot of time at free e-book websites so it was a real pleasure to visit Manybooks because of their well-designed website. Manybooks has a lot of special qualities that make browsing enjoyable.  I love the links that intuitively take you to other pages on the website that suggest other books you might be interested in.  For example, after I downloaded Macbeth, I was taken to a page that had the most downloaded and popular e-books in that genre.

The recommended section of Manybooks also helps with the task of finding a good e-book to download.  The reviews in this section are well written and helpful. I also found the author link to be helpful in finding other books by the author.  If you want to know more about the author, Manybooks provides you with a link to Wikipedia and WorldCat .

Helpful book statistics

The book statistics featured at Manybooks are unique and very helpful. Along with information about the author, publication date, and the word count, Manybooks gives you the Flesch-Kincaid reading score. The Flesch-Kincaid readability score is designed to tell you the comprehension difficulty of a book.  A test with a high score is easy to read and a text with a lower score is more difficult.  Wikipedia breaks the scores down like this:

90.0-100.0           easily understood by an average 11-year-old student

60.0-70.0              easily understood by 13- to 15-year-old students

0.0-30.0                best understood by university graduates

Deciding where and when

Knowing the Flesch-Kincaid readability score can be especially helpful if you are struggling to decide if you want to tackle books like Crime and Punishment or Les Miserables.  Crime and Punishment has a reading ease core of 84.3 and Les Miserables has a score of 69.6.  Knowing the readability scores of these great books helps me to decide where and when I am going to read these books.  The reading ease of Crime and Punishment means that I can probably read the book while I'm watching the kids play out in the backyard but Les Miserables is better suited for "alone" time in my bedroom.

Incentives and courage

So a score of 84.3 gives me an incentive to give Crime and Punishment a go.  How 'bout you?  Are there any books that intimidate you? What are you waiting for, go on over to Manybooks and take a look at the reading ease score for that scary book.  You might be surprised to learn that the scary book isn’t so scary after all.  And, if the score is pretty high, well at least you'll know what you're in for.  Good luck and good reading.

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