Posts Tagged ‘ebook’


Near the end of this month’s Scenic District roundtable meeting I asked the Scouters if many of them had any of the digital copies of the old Boy Scout themed novels written in the early 1900′s. I had noticed that many of the Scouters owned smart phones and tablets and that they used these during meetings, so I thought it was a valid question. I do not think a hand went up in reply. That surprised me a little.

I have collected over 50 of these old books in the open source epub digital book format. They are novels featuring the adventures of Tom Slade, Roy Blakeley, and Pee Wee Harris. You may recognize those names from the Boy’s Life magazine cartoon pages. There are stories of the Banner Boy Scouts and the members of the Eagle Patrol. All of these old novels have fallen into the public domain. I think I have more eBooks than I do actual hardbound books in my collection.

I understand the epub eBook file works well with many current tablets, including the iPad, but does not work with the Amazon Kindle tablets. I guess Amazon would rather sell you a copy in their own format. However, I hear that there are free programs available to reformat epub files to something the Kindle can use. It is just an extra step needed to work on the Kindle.

I asked the Scouters if they would like a digital copy of these books. Most of them said yes. This morning I got busy and started burning cd’s of the 50 Scouting novels for the next roundtable. I will bring 12 cd’s to the meeting. It will be a nice bonus for some of the Scouters who take the time to come to the roundtable. If more than one Scouter from a troop attends I am sure they would be willing to share the cd of books.

How many of these digital novels do you own?

I will admit that I have fallen behind on listening to the Scouting podcasts to which I subscribe, so when I recently took a trip to the Twin Cities I decided to catch up on listening to a couple episodes of the Scoutmaster Podcast found at scoutmaster cg.com. In episode #137, Clarke Green interviews author Mike Malone about his book Four Percent, a history of Eagle Scouts of the Boy Scouts of America. I really enjoyed the stories Mr. Malone shared about three of the most well known Eagle Scouts (listen to the podcast to find out who) and some of the changes to the Eagle Scout program during the last hundred years.

After listening to this podcast I wanted to get a copy of the book. Unfortunately, it is only available as an ebook through Amazon and iTunes. While I have read a couple ebooks on my iPad, I prefer to actually have a real book in my hands. I also think it would make an excellent gift for an Eagle Scout. Mr. Malone stated that his publisher is planning to publish an actual book sometime in the future but there are still some things to work out before that can happen, including getting the rights to use pictures within the book. Until then, it is the ebook or no book.

If you would like to listen to this special episode of the Scoutmaster Podcast you may download it at scoutmastercg.com.

Last month I finally broke down and bought an iPad (the newest version). I have been having fun with it. It looks great and works well. I have to admit, playing Angry Birds on an iPad is a lot more fun then playing on an iPod Touch. I have downloaded dozens of books that are in the public domain, especially all the fictional novels I can find written about Boy Scouting during the early years of the movement. Most of the stories about Pee Wee Harris, Roy Blakely, and Tom Slade are waiting on my iPad’s hard drive waiting to be read.

I have also downloaded a couple of Scouting related apps.The first one was MyBadges, written by Kevin Butler. It is an app which quickly puts the requirements for Boy Scout ranks, merit badges, and other awards on the screen. I have used this app while sitting on a board of review and found it to be quite handy, although one Boy Scout may not agree with me since I found a current requirement that was not listed in his handbook which was about 5 years old. Kevin has been doing a pretty good job of keeping his app current with the latest BSA handbook.

Which brings me to a problem I found. I was going to download the Boy Scouts of America app of The Boy Scout Handbook. After all, I am still involved with Scouting and thought it should be on my new gizmo. I went to the App Store to download it and stopped dead in my tracks. I have not purchased it, and will not purchase it. Here are the reasons why…

First of all, The B.S.A. has not updated the Handbook App since November 7, 2009. Yes, you read that correctly. 2009! For an organization that wants its members and volunteers to stay up to date they have really dropped the ball here. Heck, they come out with a new printed handbook every year. Why should I pay $9.99 to download a handbook that does not even contain the latest requirements for ranks and training?

And the price of $9.99, which just happens to be the same price as a physical handbook, but yet does not let me (or a Boy Scout) write in it and keep track of things like we can in a real physical copy? I think the price should be a couple bucks cheaper but I think I understand the reasoning behind it. After all, I was going to buy it until I started looking closer at it.

Third, the app is only available as an iPhone App. Really? Come on B.S.A., get with the program. Over 50 million of these devices have been sold. I am sure I am not the only Boy Scout volunteer that owns an iPad. I had thought the B.SA. was trying to be more modern and catch up to current technology. It seems to me they have been dropping the ball in a major way with this app.

Fourth. And speaking of dropping the ball, have you read the reviews about the latest version of the e-hanbook? (Which, keep in mind, came out in 2009.) They are not glowing, I can tell you that. The main gripe seems to be that it is not much more then a pdf version of the handbook. Excuse me national office, but if I am going to pay for an ebook, I would like it to be an ebook with at least a fair amount of accessible features. The book should be interactive, like the B.SA. says a Scouting program should be for its boy members.

So, I will not be purchasing the B.SA.’s Boy Scout Handbook app. At least not yet. I would like to, but the national office needs to work on this program and at least update it, if nothing else. Or could it be that this app is not a big enough seller for the B.SA. to care about? That would be a shame.

I would be interested on hearing from you if you use the Boy Scout Handbook app. Do you think it is useful? What is your general impression of it. Write a comment and share your user experience with us.

You may have read about the Boy Scouts Tom Slade and Pee Wee Harris, but have you read any about their friend Roy Blakeley’s adventures? Roy was another character created by Percy Keese Fitzhugh as he wrote fictional novels about Boy Scouts in the early 1900′s. These books are now in the public domain and can be found on some epub book sites. Here are a couple of books about Roy to introduce you to his Scouting stories:

Download – Roy Blakeley
Download – Roy Blakeley, his story
Download – Roy Blakely, Pathfinder

Do you enjoy reading these books? Would you like me to continue posting links to this blog?

It is a new month so it is time for a new electronic (epub) book. In fact, this month, let’s make it two books. After all, these old Scouting novels from nearly 100 years ago do not take long to read. It is kinda fun to go back in time and see what things were like (at least in fiction) in the early part of the last century.

Everyone in Scouting knows Pee Wee Harris. He has been featured in a comic in Boy’s Life magazine for several decades. But did you know that Pee Wee got his start as a character in a series of fictional novels written by Percy Keese Fitzhugh in early 1900′s? Yep, Tom, Roy, Westy, and Pee Wee all got their start back then. Fitzhugh wrote quite a few novels about Scouting, introducing us to a wide range of characters.

I have collected a few hard bound books about these stories for my Scouting collection so I was pleased when I was able to find more of them available as electronic books (in the epub format). Most of these books are now found in the public domain. So…

How about two books to introduce you to the original Pee Wee? These were the first two books with Pee Wee as the lead character. Both were written in 1922. The first is simply titled Pee Wee Harris. The second is Pee Wee Harris on the Trail. I hope you enjoy them.

Download Pee Wee Harris.
Download Pee Wee Harris on the Trail.

It is a new month and I guess that means it is time for a new book to read. The previous two ebooks I have posted have been well received. I would bet you probably have both read already, if you have an ebook reader, that is. So it is time to post the next book in the series, Tom Slade at Temple Camp, written by Percy Keese Fitzhugh. Here is a short excerpt from the start of the book:

“Rejected by a large majority—I mean, elected by a large majority.”

Roy Blakeley gathered up the ballots in his two hands, dropped them into the shoe box and pushed the box across the table to Mr. Ellsworth as if the matter were finally settled.

“Honorable Roy Blakeley,” he added, “didn’t even carry his own patrol.”

This humiliating confession, offered in Roy’s gayest manner, was true. The Silver Foxes had turned from their leader and, to a scout, voted for Tom Slade. It was hinted that Roy himself was responsible for this, but he was a good politician and would not talk. There was also a dark rumor that a certain young lady was mixed up in the matter and it is a fact that only the night before Roy and Mary Temple had been seen in earnest converse on the wide veranda at Grantley Square by Pee-wee Harris, who believed that a scout should be observant.

Be this as it may, Tom had carried his own patrol, the Elks, unanimously, and the Silver Foxes had voted for him like instructed delegates, while among the proud and dignified Ravens there had been but one dissenting vote. Someone had cast this for Pee-wee Harris, the Silver Fox mascot and the troop’s chief exhibit. But, of course, it was only a joke. The idea of Pee-wee going away as assistant camp manager was preposterous. Why, you could hardly see him without a magnifying glass.
“If this particular majority had been much larger,” announced Roy, “it wouldn’t have been a majority at all; it would have been a unanimity.”

“A una what?” someone asked.

“A unanimity—that’s Latin for home run. Seems a pity that the only thing that prevented a clean sweep was a little three-foot pocket edition of a boy scout——”

At this moment, Pee-wee, by a miracle of dexterity, landed a ball of twine plunk in the middle of Roy’s face.

“Roy,” laughed Mr. Ellsworth, “you’re a good campaign manager.”

“He’s a boss,” shouted Pee-wee, “that’s what he is. A boss is a feller that has people elected and then makes them do what he says.”

“Well, you were glad enough to vote for him with the rest, weren’t you?” laughed the scoutmaster.

You can download the book HERE. Have fun reading! And don’t forget to leave your comments.

If you do not have an iPad or other ebook reader but would like to read an epub file on your computer try out the free program from Adobe: Adobe Digital Editions. You can find it HERE.

Less then two weeks ago I wrote an article about old Scouting books and novels that are not only in the public domain, but also available as an electronic book in the epub format which is compatible on your iPod Touch, iPad, and other electronic book devices. The first book I posted was Tom Slade, the first of the series which follows this Boy Scout in the early 1900′s. It has already been downloaded over 50 times from this blog which is great. I hope you all enjoyed it.

Since their seems to be a small demand for this type of media I thought I would post a link to a second book for you to enjoy. The Wolf Patrol is a suggestion from Scouter Doug. I have not read it yet myself but it looks to be an interesting book. The Project Gutenberg site lists this book as “A Tale of Baden-Powell’s Boy Scouts”. It was written by John Finnemore.

Download your copy of The Wolf Patrol by clicking HERE.

I have another 21 epub ebook files I would like to share with you. All are in the public domain. If these first selection receive a fair number of downloads, and if this idea receives a decent reception, I will offer more of these books in the weeks to come. Have fun reading! And don’t forget to leave your comments.

If you would like to read an epub file on your computer try out the free program from Adobe: Adobe Digital Editions. You can find it HERE.

Let’s see. The Kindle, the iPod, the iPad, and the Nook are just a few of the ebook readers that are currently available. How about we use these gadgets to visit a fictional history of Boy Scouting. Say, like 80 plus years ago.

Did you know that in the early days of the Boy Scouts of America there were many authors writing books to catch that market of teenage boys who were joining this new youth program. One author that wrote many books for this young crowd was Percy Keese Fitzhugh. He introduced Boy Scouts to the adventures of Tom Slade, Roy Blakeley, and Pee Wee Harris. I happen to have several of these old books about the Bridgboro Boy Scouts.

According to the website Wikipedia: The bulk of his work, having a Boy Scouting theme, revolves around the fictional town of Bridgeboro, New Jersey. Major characters included Tom Slade, Pee-Wee Harris, Roy Blakely, and Westy Martin. Each of these characters had their own, distinctly different, series of books. In addition, a fifth series, Buddy Books for Boys, featured individual stories of other Boy Scout characters. In all, Grosset & Dunlap published nearly 70 different Fitzhugh titles in these 5 series. (Link)

I would imagine that there are a lot of Boy Scouts who own a device to read ebooks (electronic books). And even more adults and Scouters. Many of these old novels about fictional Boy Scouts are now in the public domain. How about this? We start introducing the boys to these old novels. Let’s introduce them to a time in which the Boy Scouts of America was still very new. In fact, I am somewhat excited about this idea so I will kick this off.

I would like to introduce you readers to Boy Scout Tom Slade by providing you with the first book in the series. This book is in the epub format so you will need a device which reads epub files to read this book. (From what I understand, many of the popular ebook devices can use the epub format.) Download the book by clicking HERE.

I currently have 16 epub ebook files I would like to share with you. All are in the public domain. If this first selection receives a fair number of downloads, and if this idea receives a decent reception, I will offer more of these books in the weeks to come. Have fun reading!

By the way, if you would like to read an epub file on your computer try out the free program from Adobe: Adobe Digital Editions. You can find it HERE.