May 9 2007
Avant-Guide is hoping to increase their market share and increase brand awareness by giving away the books for free. Avant-Guide is still making money by including sponsorship pages: two in the front and one in the back.
Registration is easy if you have a non anonymous email address. (No google, yahoo, hotmail, etc is allowed). You provide first name, last name and zip code. You are then sent a confirmation email with an authorization code and link. The link fills in the authorization code.
You have to then pick out a password and give your DOB and gender. There are alot of survey questions that I did not answer. You are allowed to download up to five a day. Readers are not give a choice of format – only PDF.
I chose the Chicago travel guide and it was a monster – 48.9 MB and on my high speed DSL connection, it took a while to download (almost 8 minutes). The guide is very pretty but unreadable on my desktop until I had enlarged the page by 150%. The Verizon Wireless ads were unobtrusive and easily passed over.
Note: Ironically, this free book site looks better than many publisher’s websites.