Daily Archives: May 4, 2011

TOS Crew: Yesterday’s Classics e-reader bundle

As a true bibliophile, I’m really excited about this one. In truth, I was saving up to buy this item when the Crew got word that we’d have the privilege of reviewing this library! Another plus is the price — this e-book bundle is on sale through the end of May!

Okay, okay, you can tell I’m excited because I’m putting the cart before the horse. After all, why would you be interested in buying something without knowing what it is?

Tell you what. Go to the publisher’s website (Yesterday’s Classics) and check out the books.  You can view them by subject (history, science, literature, for some examples), by author, or by title. You’ll see a brief description for each book, along with a suggested age range. The “Look Inside” link by each book gives you a generous sample of what’s found inside the covers.

225 books. Got that? 225 books, on sale through May 31 for $99.95. That’s about 44 cents a book. And such books!

If wishes were horses…

I wish this collection had been available years ago, when we first stumbled on Charlotte Mason’s methods and the idea of learning using living books. (See the link for a brief explanation of living books, and why you might want to incorporate them into your learning endeavors.)

Actually, a lot of the books are old friends of ours, books we’ve used over the years. I scoured old bookstores, searched the Internet, and put in for Inter-Library Loans in the early days. It got easier as more and more old books were uploaded to the web as e-texts. For the most part it used to be less expensive to print out a copy of a book, than to buy a copy, but ink and toner and paper have been getting more expensive.

Reading from the computer — not my cup of tea

Reading off the computer is tiring (and not recommended by Dr. Art Robinson of the Robinson Curriculum — he’s got some interesting things to say about the topic). I find it tiring, and I’m not too thrilled with assigning the girls reading on the computer unless I’m in the room — too many other distractions available. I’d much rather cuddle together on the couch than have the girls huddle around the bright glow of the monitor, with the computer’s fan humming in the background as I read aloud.


…which brings me to the topic of e-readers. I’ve wanted one for about a year now, ever since a friend showed me her Nook reader. Imagine a whole library in the space of a slim paperback, well, maybe a little bigger than a paperback, but not much.

I finally got a Nook of my own recently. (Can’t tell you how long I vacillated between Nook and Kindle, while also looking at other possibilities. Tough choice.) It’s everything I wanted it to be, and more.

I had downloaded the Yesterday’s Classics library onto my computer, having also downloaded e-reader software, before I made up my mind which e-reader to get. Yes, you can read these books on your computer. No, I’m not giving up my Nook.

I don’t have Nook software on my computer (it seemed redundant with having the Nook) but I do have Kindle for PC. When I load one of the books from the Yesterday’s Classics collection into the Kindle program, I see a color cover (just like what you see on the website catalog), and using the Kindle’s controls I can go to any page, including the Table of Contents. By the way, the chapter titles in the Table of Contents are clickable, taking you right where you want to go in the book.

I’m not quite so well acquainted with my Nook, but I’m learning to get around.

In both formats, the books are nice and clean. (Yes, of course, you say. After all, you can wipe the screen with a microfiber cloth. That’s not quite what I mean.)

I don’t know how many free e-texts you’ve downloaded, but they can be downright dismal. Or comical, depending on how you look at it. It seems that a lot of them have been digitized using Optical Character Readers. With this device, you scan the pages of a book in, and the computer program guesses at the words to the best of its ability. Are you a Horatio Alger fan? There are lots of OCR-rendered books by that author, and we’ve waded through many of them. Have you read Eough and Eeady? Oh, sorry, that title’s actually Rough and Ready. Names and other words can be mangled almost beyond recognition, with odd symbols thrown in here and there, perhaps when the computer threw up its virtual hands and just stuck something in there for no good reason.

So when I say the books are nice and clean, I mean that the text is readable and has been checked for errors. Original illustrations are included as well. (A lot of the free e-texts we’ve used over the years were typed in by volunteers, and don’t contain illustrations.)

Living books curricula

If you’re using Ambleside Online, Heart of Dakota, Living Books Curriculum, or Tapestry of Grace, you’ll find a number of familiar titles in this 225-volume set from Yesterday’s Classics. This set provides educational (and often diverting) reading from the preschool years on. The majority of the books are perfect for elementary school and middle school, but there are a few suited to high school. For those with younger children, this collection is a wonderful bargain.

Special sale through 5/31/2011!

You can buy Yesterday’s Classics as individual softcover printed books (see catalog), as a collection (at a special price of $99.95 through May 31), or as individual e-books.

The collection is available in either Kindle format or ePub format. The books are packaged in a series of large zip files for download, or if you’re on a slower connection, you can download each book individually.

I encourage you to look into this collection, especially if your children are younger. This collection of living books compasses a library that will serve you for years to come.

To read more TOS Crew reviews of this product, click here.

Disclaimer: Members of the TOS Crew were provided this 225-book collection in the format they requested for their family. This product was provided for personal and review use only. No additional compensation was involved.