Mosaics Hagia SophiaI realize that the mosaics of the fabulous Hagia Sophia museum – and former mosque and Orthodox cathedral – in Istanbul aren’t necessarily everyone’s cup of tea. But here’s a reminder of just how much you can save sometimes through legitimate free ebook downloads. This time, it’s $644.97.

The book in question, Mosaics of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul: The Fossati Restoration and the Work of the Byzantine Institute, by Natalia B. Teteriatnikova, is an 80-page short illustrated book from Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, originally published in 1998. The paperback edition, long out of print, is being offered on Amazon for $644.97. But a post at MobileRead alerted me to this PDF edition, completely reproducing the original volume – albeit in black and white – for nothing whatsoever.

You may be missing out on some glittering gold illustrations by opting for the free version – although since some of the photos in the volume date from the 1930s and 1940s courtesy of the Byzantine Institute and other sources, it’s likely not such a great proportion. But this is just one extreme example of the terrific savings you can make – and terrific publications you can enjoy – by sleuthing down these out-of-print freebies from museums, research institutes, and galleries.

For instance, I covered the free publications available from the Metropolitan Musem of Art some time ago. Their terrific 1989 volume on Canaletto, with gorgeous color reproductions, is available from Amazon in paperback with used prices from $92.67 or new from $175.00 – though it’s only fair to note that other used editions are offered for as little as $29.99. At the Met itself, though, you can download the PDF with the 200 or so gorgeous color plates – for nothing.

Misers everywhere may enjoy the chance to make such great savings. Everyone is likely to find something to enjoy in such visual riches. Pure (mosaic) gold.


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