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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Download the Universe

By Phil Plait

The other day I went online to look for some books At A Large Well-Known Online Book Seller, and searching for books was pretty difficult. If I started in one menu I'd get a different list of science books than I would starting from a different menu with the same search terms. Most didn't have reviews, and the ones that did were, um, less than useful. Anyone with an agenda -- or having a bad day -- can downvote a great book just because they feel like it.

We're still in the early stages of e-books, and clearly finding good ones online can be difficult, and getting trustworthy reviews even harder. What's a reader to do?

Enter Download the Universe, a website created by science journalists and scientists who have a lot of writing experience between them. Their goal is to review science e-books so that you can figure out what's what. A lot of good folks are involved -- among them my friends Carl Zimmer, Jennifer Ouellette, Sean Carroll, and Annalee Newitz -- and I suspect that over the coming months this will be the go-to place for science e-book reviews. I already have it bookmarked. So should you.

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