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Nothing is more valuable in this life than knowledge. An education is priceless. It is a tool of self-empowerment, a way to know one’s rights and worth, and it opens doors to opportunities otherwise unattainable. All too often, though, education does have a price associated with it. And, unfortunately, that price is seldom fair. Nor is it frequently reflective of how important of a right education is (or at least should be).
If you ask me, education is a human right. And it should be made available as such. I am a firm believer in free education, no matter the level. From pre-school to grad school, education should be free. Knowledge should be free. And, thus, books should also be – you guessed it – free. It is unfair, it is unjust, I think, to make one’s economic status a direct indicator of one’s educational experience.
Free education guarantees human innovation – Why should knowledge be so privileged? Shouldn’t information, especially in the age of information, be as widespread and widely available as possible? Is it not in the best interest of humanity to spread every single idea, theory, fact, and story as far as possible? That is, after all, how the maximum amount of human innovation occurs.
The more people that are exposed to truths and important narratives, the more minds become expanded; the more minds that become expanded, the higher the likelihood that one of those minds is going to begin recording additional ideas, theories, facts, and fictions. The most effective way to progress mankind, then, is to equip everyone with as much information and as many books as possible. Knowledge is the building block of wisdom.
On the other hand, if the world continues to make education a privilege of the wealthy, if we continue to charge for information and knowledge and exclude a nontrivial portion of the world from being able to access books and schooling because somebody feels the need to profit off it, we will continue to live in a world of injustice, of stymied potentials, of the same groups of people hoarding disproportionate levels of wealth, property, and knowledge. It is a vicious and never-ending cycle. Until we, the people of the world, decide to no longer feed into this negative feedback loop. We have to break the cycle intentionally. We have to break the system in order to build the one that we want.
Liberate people by liberating knowledge – And how do we do that exactly? Well, in the case of books, education, and information, we simply stop buying books. En masse, we have to come together and decide that we are no longer paying for information. That information is meant to be free for all. Send a definitive message to the publishing industry and the gatekeepers of knowledge. And one place to start is by supporting websites that offer free eBooks.
Books Share: too good to be true? – Which brings me to one of my favorite eBook sites, Books Share. It is an enormous library of free books, many of which are extremely valuable when it comes to furthering one’s education. There are plenty of textbooks here, for instance, some of which you may even be able to use for college classes. Or perhaps you are more of a rogue academic, perusing an education on your own terms … you will also likely find much to love on Books Share.
I bring this aspect of Books Share up first because, unfortunately, a great deal of the free eBook websites out there offer books that aren’t necessarily of the highest quality. I call them ‘junk food books.’ A great deal of these sites specialize in genres like erotica, romance, fan fic, etc. Not that there is anything wrong with being a fan of these genres, of course. But I think we can agree that many of these books are more entertainment oriented than they are educational. Books Share is refreshing in that it is geared more towards the educational than anything else – and that is a very rare trait in a free eBook website.
At first glance, Books Share seems almost too good to be true. It offers thousands of titles, plenty of fascinating topics and credible, educational titles, and a decent way of browsing the site’s massive library. The further I delve into this site, however, it seems as if Books Share might, in fact, be too good to be true after all. Let’s dive in and take a look, shall we, and I’ll show you just what I mean.
From the moment that I landed on Books Share’s home page, I must admit, I was not immediately taken with the site’s design. In fact, this seems to be a fairly common problem with free eBooks sites, shoddy or uninspired site design You’d think that providing a streamlined, user-friendly means of browsing such a large collection of books would be the primary concern of a site like this.
There seems to be a disconnect, however, between the worlds of literature and technology. More often than not, eBook sites are clunky, clumsy, and more difficult to navigate than they need to be. Unfortunately, Books Share is not an exception to the rule.
From there, scroll down a bit to find eBook selections, separated by category. This allows you to quickly browse a few titles. Here, you’ll find Latest eBooks, Most Popular, and featured eBooks. To the left of these selections, you are also able to access a decent site navigation menu that enables you to search for titles by genre and subject. Tags include things like Art, History, Mathematics, Psychology, Business, etc. There are also plenty of category tags, such as cooking, crafts/hobbies, architecture, literary criticism, technology, travel, self-help, and many, many more.
Inner pages – This site, on the whole, is very simplistic. When you click on a title, you’ll be brought to a separate page that has the bare minimum that you’d expect: a summary of the book, a sample, a download button, and a read now button. This page will also lead you to a selection of similar eBooks. These pages, too, though, are also unnecessarily cramped and cluttered. There is nothing experiential or responsive about this site. I highly recommend a makeover.
Content and Features
The premise of this site is also extremely straightforward. The site hosts links to downloads of hundreds of thousands of eBooks, most of which are educational in nature. So, it should be noted that if you are looking for a lighthearted beach read or something to relax in the park with, Books Share may not be the site for you. The books on this site are going to be very dense … a great deal of them are textbooks.
Given that fact, Books Share is likely a very valuable resource for college students. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on required reading and textbooks, look for your reading list on Books Share. Even if you can save just a few dollars finding the occasional textbook here, it is certainly worth it.
Mobile and Desktop Experience
Surprisingly, I am slightly fonder of the mobile experience of Books Share than I am of the desktop website. The site is just significantly more intuitive on phone and tablet screens. It does strike me as odd, though, that the site should be so well optimized for mobile devices and so poorly laid out for desktop browsers. That being said, both versions of the site are lousy with ads.
The ads on this site are shameless. They are everywhere, they are misleading, and they are sketchy. Nearly every click, too, opens a tab to a new ad. This is very unfortunate … I had high hopes for Books Share.