Kevin Kelly's True Films book, now a free ad-supported PDF

Kevin Kelly is giving away True Films, his must-have book of documentary recommendations as a free, ad-supported, PSD, using Adobe's new service that lets you embed Yahoo ads into Acrobat files.
 Cooltools Tf-3.Samllcover This is the third version of a guide I have been developing for the past 5 years. It takes the 200 best documentaries I have reviewed on my website True Films and puts them into one handy book. For an explanation of why I bother to order the content of a website into a book see the previous entry.

In True Films, I cover only true films: documentaries, factuals, non-fiction, reality-based series, and some instructional how-to. You can get a sense of what I like from the site. I love documentaries that 1) surprise me, and 2) inform me.

Each review is a rave review; that is, I only review films I love and believe others will enjoy. Merely good films are left unmentioned. I also include what no other film review source does: I provide 4 to 5 screen shots from each documentary to give you an idea of what the texture of the film is. And I only review documentaries that can be seen easily on DVD or tape at consumer prices (either as Netflix rentals, legal downloads, or online purchase). Documentaries available only in theaters, or as high-priced "educational films" are regrettably ignored. Earlier editions of this book have been available on Amazon, Lulu, and as a cheap download from my site. But with this new version 3.0 I am trying something new. I am offering this 200-page full-color guide (perfect as a companion if you have Netflix) as a FREE download. It's in PDF format, but with a twist. To help offset the significant bandwidth costs of these downloads (I hope my server can take the wave), I have appended advertisements to the PDF book. Here is how the ads work: If you choose to see the ads, they will appear in a gray sidebar on the right, adjacent to the pages of the book, just outside the frame of the page.



  1. Can I open this in my Foxit Reader or other non-Adobe reader or is this restricted to Adobe licenced products only?

    Can someone make me an ad-block plugin for Foxit please? :P

  2. Opens fine (but ad free) in OS X’s preview.

    While I understand the need for some kind of supporting revenue and absolutely love Mr. Kelly’s writings, I find ad embedded PDFs to be the continuance of a disturbing trend and I’m just a little sad that KK would use this.

    Seriously, didn’t the name Yahoo set off any warning bells?

  3. If the motivation’s offsetting the bandwidth costs, wouldn’t it have been simpler just to let or Coral take care of the heavy lifting? Seems like a more complex solution than necessary.

  4. Yeah – I don’t know if I could get ads on my ubuntu machine if I tried.

    Even when I used windows, I had to ditch adobe’s PDF reader because it was so buggy.

    I almost feel kind of guilty that I’m reading it without the ads.

    So yeah, don’t use adobe’s software to read adobe’s format, and then you’re good to go.

  5. i agree, there’s some great movies in here — a basically flawless list — except for ONE movie: “what the bleep do we know?”

    ugh, how i hated that one. awful, awful, awful.

  6. Good list, I’ve seen about 66% of them.

    I would have added the “Battleground” series.

    Battleground:The Battle of Britain (a great one!)
    Battleground:North Africa


  7. I opened it in Adobe Acrobat 6.0 and there are no ads viewed in that version (not that I would have minded it).

  8. Odd, none of James Burke’s important series (Connections, Connections 2, Connections 3, The Day The Universe Changed, etc.) seem to have made the cut.

  9. A good selection overall. I would have liked to have seen Flight From Death included. And Junkyard Wars (enjoyable as it is) is more of an educational game show than a documentary.

  10. Mr. Kelly, I’m willing to try your experiment, and I’ll even enable the ads. I’ll download that and check it out. I’m a NetFlix user, so your list might lead me to watch some interesting stuff. I’ll be interested to see how the experiment comes out.

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