Some questions about the TAFF site's free ebooks page are answered here under two overall headings: Ebooks in General and Ebooks on This Site. If you have a query that isn't covered, ask David Langford via his online feedback form.
Ebooks in General
I don't have an ebook reader: what do I do? There are many suggestions at The eBook Reader.com.
How do I copy a downloaded ebook to my reader device? Most ebook readers will link to your computer via a supplied USB cable, and appear (for example in a PC's "My Computer" folder) as additional disk drives or USB storage. Drag and drop the ebook to wherever ebooks are kept on the device; for a Kindle that's the "documents" folder. There may be an alternative wireless route – drag and drop as before without needing a physical connection. If your device has extra storage such as an SD card, you can take out the card and use a USB card reader to copy ebooks to it.
Another way to transfer ebooks to Kindles and other devices is with the excellent (and free) ebook manager Calibre, which has many other useful functions. This facilitates transfer via USB cable, and works with most ebook readers. See http://calibre-ebook.com/about. Calibre also includes its own ebook viewer software, which works with all supported formats.
You can also email a downloaded ebook to your Kindle if you have set up an approved email address from which to send ebooks to the device. More about this below.
How about a PC with a Kindle app? Visit the Free Ebooks page, choose and download the AZW3 or Mobi version. Find the Kindle Documents folder on your PC and copy the ebook into it (with the Kindle program closed). See this page for more: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/13169/add-mobi-ebooks-to-kindle-for-pc/.
Why do you offer Mobi for the Kindle and Kindle app when AZW3 is the official Kindle format? There was a time when AZW3 was the official Kindle format, but many older Kindles and Kindle apps couldn't read it; Mobi is always safe, though it lacks several pretty display features. Newer Kindles can now read Epub. The Ansible Editions ebook sales page offers a free test download of a very small ebook in any format, so you can check the Mobi/AZW3 issue before any large download.
How about an iPad with a Kindle app? Visit the Free Ebooks page, choose and download the AZW3 or Mobi version, and open it in Kindle. Epub may now be OK if the app is new enough.
How about an iPad without a Kindle app? It seems that Epub is the preferred format for an iPad with no special app installed. So: visit the Free Ebooks page, choose and download the Epub version, and copy to wherever your iPad expects ebooks to be stored.
My reader app will display any ebook format – which do you recommend? The Epub format usually has the most efficient compression, giving the smallest and thus most quickly downloaded ebooks. They also tend to look better than Mobi versions.
How do I set up an approved address to email books to my Kindle? "Log into your Amazon account. Go to [your account] [Manage your content and devices]. Click tab [Your Devices] You will see your devices – one of these will be your Kindle or whatever device on which you receive books from Amazon. There will be an email address there. Send this address to the person that you want to send you a book, magazine, whatever. Then click the tab [Settings] scroll down to [Approved Personal Document E-mail List] Click [Add a New Approved Email Address] Then add the email address of the person who will send the document/book/magazine. Once you have added this then that person will be able to send you books etc until you remove it." The approved email address can of course be your own.
Can I read ebooks on my smart phone? Check the installed or available apps. For Android phones, the free Lithium Epub Reader from the Google apps store is a simple, no-nonsense solution. As the name implies, it works with Epub-format ebooks.
Ebooks on This Site
Any chance of better-quality PDF editions? For a long time there was no PDF download option owing to the time-consuming difficulty of preparing multiple PDFs optimized for various device screen sizes and printout on US quarto or A4 paper. Since a few people nevertheless kept clamouring for PDFs, this format was added at the end of 2017. All the PDFs are "one size fits all" conversions from the Epub format using a paid-for version of the software here: https://www.ebookconverter.com/. Cover and interior art designed for ebook viewing doesn't always look so good in PDF: sorry. If you want to try other conversion software for your own reading convenience, feel free – but please don't distribute the results. The Calibre package (again, see http://calibre-ebook.com/about) can also convert ebooks to PDF, but the default settings need a lot of tweaking.
Can we hope for print-on-demand editions? It's a lot of extra work, but David Langford has been experimenting with POD versions of ebooks that aren't too huge (like the Chuck Harris collection Creative Random Harris), don't have known copyright issues and have not already had a print edition (e.g. The Enchanted Duplicator has been reprinted many, many times and D.R. Smith's The Road to Fame is still available from McArdle Press). Several titles are now available as POD paperbacks from Ansible Editions, with all proceeds going to TAFF: see the list on the TAFF site.
Why are the download figures for older ebooks counted from 12 October 2017? At last, an easy one. That was the day we added a download counter to the ebooks script. How many millions of copies were downloaded before Big Brother began to watch will forever be a mystery.
Can I copy these ebooks to anyone or offer them on my own site? There is nothing to stop you – certainly no tiresome DRM protection – but please don't. A great deal of time and effort went into preparing these ebook editions, and they are meant to be exclusive to the TAFF site in hope of encouraging donations. If you want to share the fun, just recommend friends to visit the TAFF site page (or the individual preview page of any specific ebook) for their own free downloads. Who knows, they might even be moved to donate to the fund!
Thanks to Bill Burns, Bruce Gillespie, Rob Jackson, Ian Maule and Jim Mowatt for feedback and advice on compiling this FAQ.