Quite a few club members buy our ebooks, though they’re probably only a small fraction of all club members, surely less than five percent of the total (I’m just guessing.)
I wonder why?
After all, we have a range of over a hundred ebook titles, at all the different levels, structured in ways that should appeal to learners with different priorities and preferences. They’re not free, that’s true, but the prices are reasonable for ‘study material’ which is designed to help you build your knowledge of Italian and your ability to use it (when listening, for example.)
Ebooks can be downloaded no matter where you happen to be, instantly after your payment clears. So no waiting days or weeks for your text to arrive, and no postage costs.
My hypothesis is this: that the less than 5% or so of club members who have tried our ebooks like them, and often continue buying them, as we constantly publish more.
But that the 95%+ of club members who haven’t tried them are hung up on one of two things:
1.) “Language learning is about GRAMMAR, isn’t it? What have reading and listening got to do with anything?”
2.) “What’s an ebook? I don’t have a Kindle so I couldn’t use it, anyway. Sell me something made of paper that’ll need to be physically brought to me, here on the other side of the globe, at great cost in terms of CO2 emissions. The waiting will surely increase my eventual reading pleasure!”
Regular readers will know that I’m always harping on about 1.), and now know why. So today, let’s talk about 2.), the ebook basics!
An ebook is a computer file
Which means you can save it on a computer, tablet, smartphone or ebook reader (more about which later…) Like any computer file, for example a bank statement, you should save it somewhere safe, so that you’ll always be able to find it when you need it. It’s a good idea to keep a back up copy, perhaps not on your usual device. That way, if you change computer or lose your phone, you’ll still have it. Books made of paper can get lost, but computer files can be copied and so are, in theory, more practical – they don’t need to be dusted, either.
The default format is .pdf, which means the ebook can be printed, or read on any device
.pdf is the file extension we use for all our ebooks. It means ‘portable document format’, which is exactly what it sounds like. Everyone uses it. Bank statements, ‘terms and conditions’ documents, contracts, receipts, and so on – they’re all .pdfs. Any sort of device should be able to read a .pdf. Some of our .pdf ebooks also contain links to online audio files, which means that as long as you’re connected to the internet, you should be able to click the link and listen, as well as read. N.b. ‘easy reader’ ebooks have audio, but ‘parallel text’ ebooks don’t – because they have a translation instead.
We have free sample chapters for virtually everything, so you can try before you buy
Want to see the difference between an ‘easy reader’ and a ‘parallel text’? To see which you might prefer, and to check how easy/difficult it is to download, to read, etc.? Our Catalog page has FREE sample chapters for just about every title. Click the link to download the .pdf to your device, find it in the Downloads folder (usually), click it again to open it. Via!
IF you buy an ebook, you’ll be emailed a download link immediately after your payment
I used to email people their ebook purchases, which worked well but was very time-consuming. Nowadays, our shop is set up to send a download link automatically, usually immediately after a payment is received, which is faster and a lot less hassle. OPEN THE BORING EMAILS FROM OUR SHOP SOFTWARE and read them. Where it says ‘Download’, that’s the link (or links) you need. The links work exactly the same way as the ones on our Catalog page – except that they are set to expire after three downloads/seven days, whichever comes sooner. You should download a copy of the ebook you bought and save it somewhere safe. But don’t worry – if you mess it up (or don’t bother to read the emails from our shop), just email me and I’ll fix it for you.
Some, not all, of our ebooks, have alternative formats (for Amazon’s Kindle, for example)
You’ve seen people, maybe on public transport, holding little oblong plastic things that don’t seem to be tablets or smartphones? Those are ebook readers, and they are for, well, reading ebooks. The Kindle is the most well known of the bunch. The advantage of the Kindle (and its sisters) is that you can read on it at night, store many texts easily on it, and so on. It will also adjust the size of the text for you, so you might be reading just a few sentences, in a very large font, per page. The text ‘flows’ according to your preferences. The disadvantage of that is that we can’t control the formatting (the Kindle displays the text according to its settings, not the way we have chosen that you should see it.) And THAT means that ereader formats (.mobi for Kindle and .epub for non-Amazon ereaders) are not suitable for ‘workbooks’ (which contain exercises etc.) or ‘parallel texts’ (each line has a corresponding translation). Those types of ebooks come only in the .pdf format. On the product information page (click the ebook title on the Catalog page to visit it) it should say clearly (at the top) which formats are available. If you’re unsure, ask. If you buy an ebook, you’ll get a download link for the default .pdf format. If you’d like the .mobi (for your Kindle) or the .epub (for other ereaders), just write and ask us AFTER your order is completed, or add a note on the order form at the time of your order. Please check the available formats for the ebook or ebooks that interest you on the ‘product information’ page BEFORE you buy, but basically it’s ‘easy readers’ = all three formats, ‘everything else’ = only .pdf.
That’s about it, really. If you’re a long way from a bookstore, if you want something in Italian to read/listen to/study right now, then you should consider an ebook. Be part of the clued up -5% of club members who already do, why not?
Ready to practice what we’ve talked about?
This week’s half-price eBook of the Week offer is the A2/B1-level (lower intermediate), ‘Il campo di papaveri’ (The Poppy Field), the story of a struggling young artist who falls in love with his landlord’s daughter…
We have two VERSIONS of this tale. The pornographic version and the non-pornographic version – just joking! There’s the ‘easy reader’ version (text, glossaries, exercises and online audio), which comes in the default .pdf (see the FREE sample chapter, here) plus .mobi (for Kindle) and .epub (other ereaders) for those who request it.
And then there’s the ‘parallel text’ version – the Italian original, plus a line-by-line translation into English, but NO glossaries, exercises or audio (the FREE sample chapter is here). Because of the special formatting required, this one is only in the default .pdf format, so no Kindle-compatible file format. Sorry!
Two versions, three possible file formats, four options in total – confusing, isn’t it? But take a look at both product pages, or both sample chapters, and you’ll see they have different cover art to help you choose – the ‘easy reader’ version is red and green and has a little audio icon, while the ‘parallel text’ version is blue/grey and has two little flags to show that there’s an English translation of the Italian original.
I almost forgot to mention: both ebooks are half price all this week, so just £3.99 instead of the usual £7.99. Don’t buy both to take advantage of the saving, though, as the text is basically the same. Try one or the other, according to how you prefer to learn (with a translation or with accompanying audio.)
And once your payment clears, read all the emails the shop sends you, the ones with words like ‘order completed’ or ‘invoice’ and so on in the subject lines, which you might normally ignore… One or more of them will contain the download link you need!!
Or select something more suited to your current level from our Catalog page!
Saturday’s FREE bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news is waiting for you to read/listen to it, here.
The audio is eight minutes and thirty-six seconds long. Press play and listen, while following the text on the webpage. Don’t worry about the parts you don’t understand, don’t try to stop the audio, just keep listening. The purpose of the material is to train you for precisely that – real time listening. Not understanding everything you hear is normal, and is part of the task. But the text is there as a support.
Eight minutes and thirty-six seconds later, you’re done! Give yourself a pat on the back and open a beer. There’ll be another ‘easy’ Italian news bulletin along on Tuesday, and another on Thursday. Listen to/read each one, and you WILL notice a gradual improvement.
However, if you’re in a hurry to improve your listening comprension skills, why not invest an additional seventeen minutes and twelve seconds this very day? Listen to the audio a second time, still with the text support. It should make more sense this time… And yet again, this final time without the text, which will be much harder, but at least you should be able to recognise the general topics.
Subscribing to EasyItalianNews.com is totally free. Do so and you’ll be emailed each new bulletin as soon as it is published, each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Read/listen to them for a couple of months and your Italian will be better as a consequence.