Some think the era of homemade gifts is long past but I’m not talking about pot holders here. You just need to think outside the box to give a great high-tech gift you make yourself and customize it for the person you are gifting.
Everyone knows you can buy someone a new book reader such as Kindle at a reasonable price but if you do then they are being set up for big expenses feeding that reader with reading material.
But did you know that there are probably 100,000 books (counting audio versions) of older books which you can completely legally download and burn on a CD to give away?
The same holds for old movies and other video.
If the person you are buying for only reads the latest popular books then you are out of luck, but lots of people enjoy older books and videos.
Just an example, last year I downloaded a half-dozen old but classic medical texts and burned them on a CD-R for a doctor friend of mine. He loved it but would never have taken the time to locate them online even if he knew how. The originals would have cost tens of thousands of dollars but this cost me a few minutes and a 30-cent blank CD-R.
And that’s just a start. You can also find histories, old mystery books, Grateful Dead concerts, tens of thousands of fun old newsreel and propaganda videos, cookbooks, in short, something for almost everyone, all free and free for you to compile and give away.
Many people know about the great work done by The Gutenberg Project (don’t be mislead by similar sounding sites, this one is Gutenberg.org) which has turned 33,000+ books into e-books readable in various formats including HTML (what you are seeing now) and plain text – no special reader needed, just any computer.
And this isn’t an English only site, there are books in more than 35 languages from Afrikaans to Yiddish including Tagalog and Maori along the way.
That’s where I always start but many people never look further and there are many other sources. One meta-site which includes Project Gutenberg and many other sources is the massive archive.org.
Currently they have links to downloadable versions of 423,000 movies/videos, 86,000 live concerts, 752,000 audio recordings and 2,600,000 text documents including books.
How about downloading a copy of the 1938 classic “Reefer Madness”? Or perhaps a copy of George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead”? And, for those frat boys of your acquaintance why not a digital copy of “Sex Madness”? All of these are among the free videos available through The Internet Archive at archive.org.
Or, if you are looking for a gift for yourself or the really high-tech oriented, why not embed one of these movies in your web site? The HTML code is included.
If you can’t find something unusual for someone on your gift list there then they have extremely narrow interests or don’t have a computer with a CD player.
While I don’t care if you pass my web savvy off as your own by using these two sites as sources, if you really want something out of the ordinary for that special person, try looking for free online book download sites in other countries.
Project Gutenberg carries books free of U.S. Copyright but other countries have different copyright laws and therefore host sites which often have different books.
All you need is high-speed web access and a computer with a CD-R recorder to make a great gift for the technologically impaired person in your life.
Or perhaps you or they just don’t have room for all those books in hard copy or don’t want to move them from apartment to apartment.