Friday, July 12, 2013

Best eBook version of the Nights

I’ve been seeking a good eBook of the Arabian Nights Entertainments ever since I conceived and began to write a  science fiction collection based on Scheherazade’s stories.

My chief criterion was that it be a complete translation, which ruled out a number of translations intended for children. Since it also had to be accessible, I decided to use Sir Richard Francis Burton’s translation.

Another criterion was that it had to be cheap. The Arabian Nights Entertainments is available from Project Gutenberg, however each volume of the work is a separate download. I then found a reasonably priced Quench edition that collects the work in a single volume. It’s a decent, low priced edition, however it is not sold on Amazon. One drawback to this edition, however, is that to read Burton’s footnotes readers must navigate to the back of each volume. A better edition would have roundtrip hyperlinks between the text and the footnotes.

Eureka! An edition sold through Google Play does contain roundtrip hyperlinks. It also contains a short biography of Burton.  Although, the MobileReference translation also has several shortcomings, it is the best I’ve found. One shortcoming is that it is not available for Kindle. I can live with this; it looks fine when viewed on Adobe Digital Editions and on Android devices. The other shortcoming is that its design prohibits copying text. Most readers won’t care about this, but if they do, they can readily copy text from various internet sources.

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Dave Loeff ( is an author and graphic designer. In addition to fiction, Dave writes about graphics, travel, and other topics. Find him at

Dave worked domestically in the sewn goods industry, before he became a buyer in Taiwan. He subsequently worked as a mental health clinician, technical writer, computer technician, and graphic designer.

His freelance services include conversion of manuscripts into eBooks, photo retouching, book design and illustration,