The Rough Guide to the Universe on Google Play

Proof once again that often the author is the very last person to know about these things: the second (and most recently updated) version of The Rough Guide to the Universe, my astronomy book, is out and available on Google Play, although apparently not on either Barnes & Noble or Amazon. I don’t know why it’s on the one service and not the others, although if I had to guess it would be because the book was scanned rather than formatted into eBook form, and Amazon/B&N would prefer to have it in its proprietary formats. That’s just a guess, however.

The book is pretty inexpensive at $6 for the electronic version, although I would offer the caveat that because it’s scanned (presumably to keep the fantastic astronomical pictures and star charts in the book in a useful format), you’ll have better luck viewing it on a tablet or computer rather than a phone. I downloaded it and was looking at it on my Galaxy Tab, and it was readable and looked good. If I tried to look at it on my phone, I suspect I would get a headache from all the small text very quickly. And of course there would be the irony of taking a bright electronic tablet out with you to look at a dark night sky; you’d kill your night vision every time you looked down at the book.

Nevertheless, for those of you who don’t have the book and want it, or didn’t know that I wrote anything other than fiction and might be interested in seeing what else I write, this is a good intro. I’m actually very proud of this book; I had always wanted to write an astronomy book when I was younger so being able to do one was a genuine life goal. And as an added bonus, this book itself was very well received as beginner’s guide on everything that’s going on in the universe (and how to see it in the night sky). Check it out if you like.

16 thoughts on “The Rough Guide to the Universe on Google Play

  1. Being a bit of an amateur astronomer, I’ve been meaning to read this, but I don’t have an Android tablet.

    Do you currently have a scope? I have an old 10″ dob that I picked up in anticipation of Shoemaker-Levy 9. I did actually see the impact spots.

  2. You’re just full of surprises. As an astronomy minor, I’ll look forward to taking this on my next camping trip to New Mexico next month. Since I’m driving, maybe I’ll even cart my old Celestron along.

  3. are you kidding me? you are full of surprises. is it still available in stores? I’ll be on Lexington for your visit. I’ll have to see if they have it in stock.

  4. Man, I wish this was on B&N so I could buy it on my nook. The preview makes me want to buy it. :(

  5. Cool! I get most of my books through Google Play anyway, and this sounds like something I’d like.

  6. wizardru, Google’s format is the same as B&N. It is at least possible to download it then transfer to a nook, even if you can’t buy directly from the nook.

  7. “And of course there would be the irony of taking a bright electronic tablet out with you to look at a dark night sky; you’d kill your night vision every time you looked down at the book.”

    Then again, if you used a dead-tree version, you’d ruin your night vision every time you turned on your flashlight to read the book. So you’re kinda shafted either way.

  8. Speaking strictly as a book production professional: If they scanned the book, the almost certainly don’t have electronic files available. Making a PDF from the typesetting files would be far superior quality and would be a much smaller file. Also, trivial to make. I can’t imagine any of my peers scanning a book unless they had no other option.

    I can think of at least five common reasons the original typesetting files would be unavailable or unreliable; though it does seem strange that they don’t have a PDF from 2008 sitting in an archive somewhere. OTOH, I’m often surprised by what we do or don’t have in my office.

    Re the night vision: Mythbusters demonstrated that covering one eye allows you to effectively preserve your night vision by covering one eye. Binocular vision is not necessary for either star-gazing or book-reading.

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