If the phrase “digital library” makes you think only of Snell’s e-journals and online research databases, think again. This digital library will blow your mind. Project Gutenberg is a digital library that has 33,000 e-books, but here’s the catch–you can download them all for free. And trust me, they’re good books, too. Alice in Wonderland, Pride and Prejudice, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Tale of Two Cities… You’ve heard of them. These are just the first few titles I skim over as I access the library home page. But how do they do this for free? It just makes no sense. It’s almost too good to be true. Almost. Most of these books are available on Project Gutenberg because their copyrights have expired and are now essentially public works. So yeah, there won’t be any brand new bestsellers such as The Girl Who Played With Fire, but there are many thousands of timeless novels to get lost in. Every book is available in formats accessible regardless of your technologies abilities (mostly plain text or html). You and your laptop are about to become best friends. A nearly endless supply of free books. It’s just what your summer needs. Hey, they even have Moby Dick available on Project Gutenberg… I think someone should tell damong. Check it out! Now! www.gutenberg.org
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Nice post. Please consider this a hearty ‘seconded’ – I wish more folks knew about Project Gutenberg.
I’d like to add that Gutenberg is always looking for more volunteers to help get books online – as you might guess, it takes an army to make those works available. Those interested can read more about volunteering here:
I pitch in occasionally for Project Gutenberg as a distributed proofreader, and highly recommend it as a great hobby for folks who are passionate about providing better access to information.
If this website adopted the Kindle format that Amazon.com uses for downloading and reading books, it could seriously compete with that site. Of course, they wouldn’t call it “kindle.” But it could eclipse Amazon in this area by virtue of being free.
But then, this would require a lot, lot of money…
You can read Gutenberg books with your Kindle, Nook, Sony and iPad… instructions are here:
Yesterday’s Boston Globe has a review by Scott Kirsner of e-readers, complaining about the poor selection of e-books available online (“similar to what you’d expect at an airport bookstore,” OUCH!). He should try Project Gutenberg!