Thursday, June 30, 2011

The free CK-12 Foundation Math/Science books. Free eBookMaps books - UPDATES


With so many-books that are free for awhile, I thought it'd be good to remind people that the currently eight CK12-Foundation Kindle books at Amazon are always free.  They're "customizable, standards-aligned, free digital textbooks for K-12" and the subjects include Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

  UPDATE - Note that there are 11 books rather than 8.  In the comments section, AthenaAtDelphi found that doing a search on "ck-12" with the quote marks specifying just that, three more CK-12 books were found than when using Amazon's own Author's Link for CK-12 Foundation

  That's because those three books did not include "Foundation" in the author name.  The three more that he found that way are:
  1. CK-12 Engineering: An Introduction for High School , by Dale Baker
  2. CK-12 21st Century Physics: A Compilation of Contemporary and Emerging Technologies , by Andrew Jackson and James Batterson
  3. CK-12 People's Physics Book Version 2 , by James H. Dann

The CK-12 Foundation's "About" statement explains: "CK-12 Foundation is a non-profit organization with a mission to reduce the cost of textbook materials for the K-12 market both in the U.S. and worldwide.  Using an open-content, web-based collaborative model termed the 'FlexBook,' CK-12 intends to pioneer the generation and distribution of high quality educational content that will serve both as core text as well as provide an adaptive environment for learning through the FlexBook Platform™."

The ones at their site are in PDF format, not in best-reading format, so get the Kindle versions where available.

  UPDATE2 - a CAUTION - Stay with the Kindle copies when those are available of course.  More reason: Besides the fact that the PDF versions on the CK-12 site would be barely readable on a 6" e-ink screen, with headers, footers and many originally full-color illustratrions, Commenter Tom Semple found that some of the PDF books are huge, one of them 150 megs and another 500 megs (which is half a gig).

  We have about 3.2 Gigs (3,000+ Megs) of room on the Kindle 3's (and DX's), as the rest is for the operating system.   An average novel takes about 800K or just under 1MB.  That's quite a bit of room, but not when you're faced with loading extremely bloated PDFs of textbooks.  Those would be very slow on an e-Ink reader at the least, so if you need a CK-12 PDF book because no Kindle one is available for that one, just load the one PDF you need.  They can be backed up on your computer and moved to the Kindle as needed. &nbpsp;In the meantime, now we have 11 of the CK-12 books in the much more readable and lighter-weight Kindle editions.

  Thanks to both AthenaAtDelphi and Tom Semple for the added information.

  UPDATE3   I once mentioned you could get the often very useful Comments from this blog if you enjoy RSS feeds.  Using Google reader, for one example, (at to "Add a subscription" (there's a field at top left of that page for this), the following will work to add a subscription to comments-only with Google Reader and other readers:

Back to CK-12:  CK-12’s FlexBooks earned perfect scores in Phase Two of former California Gov. Schwarzenegger’s Free Digital Textbook Initiative.

As ZDNet's Christopher Dawson wrote in 2009
' ... the efforts of the Foundation seem to have paid off, as they provided electronic textbooks through a California initiative that were clearly more aligned with state standards than any electronic texts from major publishers. According to a report from the California government,

Of the 16 free digital textbooks for high school math and science reviewed, ten meet at least 90 percent of California’s standards. Four meet 100 percent of standards, including the CK-12 Foundation’s CK-12 Single Variable Calculus, CK-12 Trigonometry, CK-12 Chemistry and Dr. H. Jerome Keisler’s Elementary Calculus: An Infinitesimal Approach. '
And eight of these are free at Amazon, for the Kindle.
Paul Biba announced this new website's offerings the other day, quoting its press release, which I'll add here also (all emphases mine):
' Free maps for readers of electronic books are now available on the new website.  The website, which presents itself in many languages, lets users download eBooks with maps in both popular formats, i.e., mobi (for Kindle reader from Amazon) and epub (for most other readers).

eBookMaps website offers free downloadable e-books with maps of major cities of the whole world.  Currently there are more than 200 eBooks, each in two formats – epub and mobi, among which are not lacking those of big US cities, cities of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and South America.

All the maps are optimized for e-book readers.  They are thus divided into many smaller parts that can easily be displayed on a small monochrome display with eInk technology.  To switch between different parts of the map users can use the buttons Next page/Previous page and they can also use index of streets, which is included in every e-book.

Maps from eBookMaps offer another choice of content for owners of e-book readers.  They can be useful as a good alternative to online maps, which may be expensive to download in many countries (due to telco fees).

Maps of some of the cities represented at eBookMaps are not yet common and are not available even on Google maps.  eBookMaps use data from project licensed by CC-BY-SA and are distributed in accordance with this license. '

Here are their Tips and tricks for maps and e-books
Tips: How to load e-books with maps to your reader (there is a how-to video which displays the Kindle on the screenshot) and Help: How to use maps from eBookMaps.

The easiest method described is for the Kindle, which has a web browser.  With images as the main focus for these books, downloads to the Kindle could be expensive for Amazon (they pay the 3G cost) if 3G is your only method for direct download to the Kindle (true for Kindle 1, 2, DX, DXG).  The size of the Cairo book is only about twice the size of an average novel, but the size of the London file is 8 megs, 8 times the average novel.  It's a long download and costs can add up for Amazon, so it's better to encourage Amazon to keep the free 3G feature as they've done for 4 years, by using your home or local WiFi instead where you can, if you have the Kindle 3, OR download it to your computer and then move it to your Kindle's "documents" folder with the USB cord.

 They'll always be free, apparently, and most of us would usually download a book only as needed, so it shouldn't be a problem if done infrequently.

The books can also be placed in "My Kindle Content" subfolder of "My Documents" (on a Windows computer) and then can be read on your free Kindle for PC app as well, and the same, with different details, for Kindle for Mac.  But the Amazon versions are optimized by eBookMaps for the Kindle.

Things are really picking up in the e-reader world!

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's)   K3 Special ($114)   K3-3G Special ($164)   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
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  1. Sadly, I tried the Orlando map and the street names are barely readable on the 6" Kindle......even after I use the zoom tool.

  2. There are currently a few more titles available in Kindle format on the ck-12 site than on Amazon. ePub is available also.

    Also PDF selection is larger and in some cases with newer editions, and of course better typography for the equations and such. They really need to get a copy of Acrobat and optimize them, however. Looks like they are using LaTeX to generate PDFs and they are HUGE (as large as 500MB). I was able to reduce the size of one of them from 150MB to about 12MB. If they're paying for download bandwidth, this could more than pay for a copy of Acrobat, and certainly anybody downloading will appreciate faster downloads. Wish they had formatted for pages a bit smaller than Letter, but after cropping headers/footers (and reducing file size) it is somewhat workable on Kindle.

  3. That's why I linked people to the pages and said to get the Amazon versions available (they'll be MUCH easier to read on the 6") and that 8 of the titles were on Amazon, meaning there are more at the linked page where they could see them and of course that the PDF selection was "larger"...

    Thanks for the info on the PDFs that you did try.
    I personally have one gig left on my Kindle 3 and in no way am I putting a 500 megabyte file on it.

    I guess I had better warn people about getting the PDF versions of the ebooks that are not on Amazon. But 500M is the size of the "Enhanced" versions of other Kindle books that Amazon is selling in the "Kindlestore" for the iPad devices and we've seen that many buyers don't read the product page descriptions.

    It took videoclips to get the Kindle for Apple iPad app enhanced books that large, so one can wonder what CK-12 Foundatino put into the PDFs.

    Just high resolution pictures wouldn't do it.
    Where I worked for years, we put fairly high resolution pics in the PDF books, but they never became nearly that large.

    ---}"After cropping headers/footers (and reducing file size) it is somewhat workable on Kindle."

    And maybe .005 of the population buying them will care to go to the trouble to do that.

    Thanks for the PDF size details!

  4. Hi Andrys ,

    If you use "CK-12" (including the quotation marks !) as a search string , in stead of CK-12 Foundation , you'll find 3 more CK-12 books :

    1. CK-12 Engineering: An Introduction for High School , by Dale Baker
    2. CK-12 21st Century Physics: A Compilation of Contemporary and Emerging Technologies , by Andrew Jackson and James Batterson
    3. CK-12 People's Physics Book Version 2 , by James H. Dann

    That's because the author of those 3 books is not described as 'by CK-12 Foundation' .

  5. Athena...
    Thanks! I didn't run a search -- I used the link that Amazon places for Ck-12 as an entity/author on the CK-12 books. Apparently their message then left out some books. I thought Engineering was there! Anyway, too much going on at the moment to make changes, but I will by tomorrow.

    Thanks for the eagle eye.

  6. Anonymous,
    Even with the zoom tool? Gads. Have you tried rotating it to Landscape and then applying zoom? I'm not near my Kindle right now. But Landscape often helps.

  7. Hi Andrys ,

    I just did a search on "CK-12" (including the quote marks) and got only 10 results .

    The Kindle ebook 'CK-12 Biology I - Honors' seems to be no longer available .

  8. AthenaAtDelph,
    Thanks. I suppose one 'feature' is that the search that Amazon made for K12 now includes the word "Foundation" in it, bringing up 10 books instead of 8. So, now, the Biology book is not included. I wonder why.

    I'll leave your comment to explain this rather than updating it more, as I didn't mention the biology book specifically, though I did mark it for download :-).


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