Where to find the book that you want so badly?


You are working on your paper. It is 1:34 AM. You sip strong coffee from your academic mug and your sight is quickly scanning electronic resources on your laptop's screen. You are totally absorbed into your work and you fell ok because although the deadline is near, it seems that you'll do good. But then something draws your attention. There is a book that's everywhere referred to. A book with formidable authority in your field of study. A book that you did not chance on during your preliminary research. A book that you did not borrow from the library. A book that you need to cite as you want to have your paper up to date. A book that you want so badly. A book that you can get in three possible ways.

  1. An on-line bookstore.
  2. An unofficial site with free and uncopyrighted books.
  3. A pirate site.

(A) You know that electronic delivery is your last hope. You can't afford international shipping delay and customs office customs (Sometimes they just decide to x-ray your packages, which means that you can take one month off writing.) So you start to search for your desired e-book on one of on-line bookstores such as Logos, Christianbook, Google Play, Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Feed Books.

In most cases, this will not help you, as the most wanted research material use to be very rare. Even the most glorified Logos is far from providing exhaustive number of resources. For example, just one month ago I found out that they don't offer The Annointed Community by Gary Burge, which is probably the most authoritative textbook in it's field of study. The fact that they don't offer J. Rodman Williams is like the final nail in their coffin. But let's quit defaming Logos. They will defame themselves well by outrageous prices of uncopyrighted books, by discriminating non-Apple world and by undecent requirements on computer's har­dware.

(B) Once you realize that on-line bookstores offer all kinds of rubbish but not the quality content that you desire, you will probably try to google somewhere else. There are number of web sites that may offer what you need for free or for a very little price.

  1. Google Books will prove sufficient in many cases. Bad news is that some books will not load at all and some will be incomplete in preview mode. Knowing that Google actually has the whole of those books scanned but can't/won't offer them due to some copyright or marketing reasons will probably piss you off, depending on your Christian character.
  2. Archive.org will help you with uncopyrighted books. Remember that copyright only lasts for 50–70 years after author's death. Tell me which Protestant Christian would like to omit e.g. Luther's *On Bondage of the Will* in his/her paper on some soteriological issue? As with Archive.org, Christian classics could be found on Project Gutenberg, Christian Classics Ethereal Library and Puritan Library.
  3. If you are particularly interested in early church fathers, you could use Early Christian Writings and New Advent. And if you want to cite christian classics properly as from their printed versions, just visit Online Library of Liberty and search for Ante-Nicene or Nicene or Post-Nicene Fathers. If you don't know where to start, I may recommend you On the Apparel of Women by Tertullian. You'll find that book applicable especially in conservative Pentecostal and hypercalvinistic baptist churches (sarcasm intended).
  4. Funnily enough, although scholars seldom eat and really good of them don't travel, their articles are often paid. If you happen to be cut off some research platform such as EBSCO, you can use JSTOR. In the free version, JSTOR has terrible and limited environment and you can't even download the article in PDF. It is however quite easy to grab the article you want from your browser's cache and build your own searchable PDF. If you are interested in how to do that, just tell me in the comments down there and I will show you in a follow-up.
  5. Web sites such as Open Library, The Evangelical Christian Library and Monergism could provide some useful resources.

(­C) The Internet is a big ocean. There are pirate bays and white spots on the map apart from nicely polished docs of landlords and rulers. You can find plenty of useful stuff on pirate sites. Downloading pirate content is nonetheless legally and ethically hazardous. It is legally hazardous, because people who copy books onto websites (pirates) are violating copyright laws and you participate on their crime if you copy the copyrighted content from the Internet to your computer. It is also ethically hazardous because you download and read books that you did not pay for and you are hence stealing/denying money from the distributor and from the author.

On the other hand, you could take other considerations into account. (1) Firstly, you could get that book legally in your library, you just don't have time to do so. (2) Secondly, you are a pauper living outside the free shipping delivery zone, so you wouldn't buy it anyway. You can't spend another 100€ on every course's bibli­ography. (3) And if you wouldn't buy it, then nobody lost any money. (4) We could also argue that whereas copyright does belong to it's owners, published thoughts belong to mankind and therefore (5) you'll do good to the author when you review and cite them. (6) Finally, we should remember that laws come and go. Can you think of a pirate who was both a hero and a criminal? I can! (And I don't mean Edward Snowden :-) (ǝʞɐɹp sᴉɔuɐɹɟ)

Oh right, let's stop this little demagogy. These are the most helpful pirate bays:

  1. The easiest way to find what you're looking for is called BookZZ. Simple search field, thousands of resources. BookZZ is the largest open pirate e-book web site that I know so far. It is either mirrored or imitated on Booksee.org, Bookfi.org or Himooc.com. It also has separate engine for scientific articles on BookSC. Although pirate sites use to be messy, I've never been irritated or disgusted by some unwelcome or harmful content on BookZZ. It just works.
  2. Scribd is an on-line library with basically two zones. Subscription zone provides you with legal resources for some subscription fee. “Grey zone” is made by users who are forced to upload their own documents in order to be able to download documents of others. Scribd is not a pirate site, it just provides space for (unconscious) pirates.
  3. Many Christians do not share strict views on copyrighting. Christian Downloads Forum is the best example. There you'll find both “legal” and “pirate” stuff. You can also ask there for invite codes to closed platforms.
  4. The largest collections of free e-books are found on closed platforms. The greatest example is Ebook Farm. If you wanna get in, you need registration from an existing member. You can contact them on Facebook and hope for a response or you can open a new topic on Christian Downloads Forum. You can also write me an e-mail and I will see what I can do. Books on Ebook Farm are not totally free, their prices vary between 0.01 and 2 dollars. Most books that I saw there was like 0.50 dollars. You should remember that this fee is not redeeming your crime. It goes to admins (pirates) so that they can maintain and expand their server storage. In my opinion, they don't make money on that. They just survive and do it for altruistic Robin Hood reasons.

Ok, that's it. I think (and I hope) that this list of viable options is not exhaustive. Do you know any other places where to look for a book that I want so badly? And tell me… What is your opinion on Internet piracy? (Please keep your argument clear and concise.)

Jeden komentář u článku „Where to find the book that you want so badly?“

  1. Greets from Brazil.
    I'm not a guy that thanks when a site helps me with a situation. But, dude. I'll never discover these quoted sites if you didnt quote their. I love you, mate!