Our tour of open reading sites begins at the beginning, with Project Gutenberg. The oldest (1971) of such collections, it currently has a collection of 53,000+ volumes. This number is expected to grow significantly in 2019, when changes in the copyright law allow more books to become available. Originally, founder Michael Hart’s intent was to focus of the collection was books in English in the public domain. Recently, though, several European languages have been added. The history of the project is available at Wikipedia and on Project Gutenberg’s site.
Congrats to Project Gutenberg on adding it’s 40,000th title. Hat tip to @paulkbiba for the news.
From the PG site:
With little fanfare, Project Gutenberg reached #40000 in its eBook series; Extinct Birds: an attempt to unite in one volume a short account of those birds which have become extinct in historical times: that is, within the last six or seven hundred years: to which are added a few which still exist, but are on the verge of extinction, by Walter Rothschild. Continue reading Project Gutenberg adds 40,000 title
In 1971 Michael Hart created the first eBook, The Declaration of Independence. Little did he or anyone else know where this would lead. Michael hart passed away yesterday. There are several tributes and obituaries on the web already. I’ve linked to a few of them below. Those considering a donation can use the usual Project Gutenberg link.
Gutenberg News – A post from July of 2011 from Michael Hart, celebrating the 40th anniversary of ebooks
The World eBook Fair runs from July 4 through August 4, 2011. Their goal is to provide Free public access for a month to 6.5 Million eBooks. Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive are both contributing organizations and will be presenting a number of items in other media this year, including music, movies and artwork, even dance choreography. The collections include light and heavy reading materials, more reference books, scientific items, etc., and about 50,000 music entries in addition to the 12,000 that debuted last year.
All are welcome to join the World Public Library as well for an annual membership of $8.95 per year. Members can download a selection of about 2,000,000 PDF eBooks.
From Eric Hellman’s blog, Go To Hellman – The fourth section my book chapter on Open Access eBooks looks at theier relationship with libraries. I previously posted the Introduction, What does Open Access mean for eBooks and Business Models for Creation of Open Access E-Books. I’ll be posting one more section, a conclusion.
Thank you for all of your comments; the completed chapter (and OA eBook) will be better for them.
Libraries and Open Access E-Books
One of the missions of libraries is to provide access to all sorts of information, including e-books. If an e-book is already open access, what role is left for libraries play?
Here’s a thought-experiment for libraries: imagine that the library’s entire collection is digital. Should it include Shakespeare? Should it include Moby Dick? These are available as public domain works from Project Gutenberg; providing these editions in a library collection might seem to be superfluous. Many librarians have been trying to convince their patrons that “free stuff on the Internet” is often inferior to the quality information available through libraries. There are certainly e-book editions of these works available for purchase with better illustrations, better editing, annotations, etc. Should libraries try to steer patrons to these resources instead of using the free stuff? Continue reading Open Access eBooks, part 4, by Eric Hellman
Here’s the third section of my draft of a book chapter for a book edited by No Shelf Required‘s Sue Polanka. I previously posted the introduction; and What does Open Access mean for eBooks subsequent posts will cover Open Access E-Books in Libraries. Note that while the blog always uses “ebook” as one word, the book will use the hyphenated form, “e-book”. The comments on the second section prompted me to make significant revisions, which I have posted.
Business Models for Creation of Open Access E-Books
Any model for e-book publishing must have a business model for recouping the expenses of production: reviewing, editing, formatting, design, etc. In this section, we’ll review methods that can be used to support Open Access e-book publishing. Continue reading Open Access eBooks, Part 3
Reprinted from the Go To Hellman blog from Eric Hellman. Here’s the second section of my draft of a book chapter for a book edited by No Shelf Required‘s Sue Polanka. I previously posted the introduction; subsequent posts will include sections on Business Models for Open Access E-Books, and Open Access E-Books in Libraries. Note that while the blog always uses “ebook” as one word, the book will use the hyphenated form, “e-book”. The comments on the first section have been really good; please don’t stop! Comments can be directed to Eric via the Go To Hellman blog.
What does Open Access mean for e-books?
There are varying definitions for the term “open access”, even for journal articles. For the moment, I will use this as a lower-case term broadly to mean any arrangement that allows for people to read a book without paying someone for the privilege. At the end of the section, I’ll capitalize the term. Although many e-books are available for free in violation of copyright laws, I’m excluding them from this discussion.
The most important category of open access for books is work that has entered the public domain. In the US, all works published before 1923 have entered the public domain, along with works from later years whose registration was not renewed. Works published in the US from 1923-1963 entered the public domain 28 years after publication unless the copyright registration was renewed. Public domain status depends on national law, and a work may be in the public domain in some countries but not in others. The rules of what is in and out of copyright can be confusing and sometimes almost impossible to determine correctly. Continue reading Open Access eBooks, Part 2. What does Open Access Mean for e-books?
Open Access E-Books
As e-books emerge into the public consciousness, “Open Access”, a concept already familiar to scholarly publishers and academic libraries, will play an increasing role for all sorts of publishers and libraries. This chapter discusses what Open Access means in the context of e-books, how Open Access e-books can be supported, and the roles that Open Access e-books will play in libraries and in our society.
The Open Access “Movement”
Authors write and publish because they want to be read. Many authors also want to earn a living from their writing, but for some, income from publishing is not an important consideration. Some authors, particularly academics, publish because of the status, prestige, and professional advancement that accrue to authors of influential or groundbreaking works of scholarship. Academic publishers have historically taken advantage of these motivations to create journals and monographs consisting largely of works for which they pay minimal royalties, or more commonly, no royalties at all. In return, authors’ works receive professional review, editing, and formatting. Works that are accepted get placement in widely circulated journals and monograph catalogs. Continue reading Open Access E-books Part One, from Eric Hellman
Yesterday, OverDrive released updates to the OverDrive Media Console apps for iPhone (iOS) and Android, which include the addition of one-click, automatic downloads and other enhancements to user experience.
At the same time, they’ve updated the mobile â€˜Virtual Branch’ sites for libraries with a Project Gutenberg collection, enabling access to the 15,000 DRM-free EPUB eBooks on iPhone and Android. This gives users a chance to download an eBook directly to their iPhone or Android every time they visit your mobile site without waiting lists or holds.
More information and visuals about these OverDrive upgrades are available on the OverDrive Library blog.
Big news fom the Digital Library blog at OverDrive about their pilot project with Project Gutenberg records – it’s live and available for libraries. From the blog post: OverDrive’s Project Gutenberg eBook collection, featuring over 15,000 EPUB titles that are free to your library and to your customers, is out of beta and available on more than 125 â€˜Virtual Branch’ websites. Since we launched this feature in August, library customers have downloaded 100,000 eBooks from the collection. That’s great news for all libraries with these free EPUB eBooks because each download can count as a circulation for your library, even though no authentication is needed to access these â€˜always available’ titles.
More information, including instructions on viewing the “Gutenberg Report” within one’s Content Reserve account, is in the post.
From PRWeb: The new Gutenberg eReader Android app, which delivers free ebooks on demand, is now shipping through the Google Android Market. The Gutenberg eReader provides an intuitive interface to browse through the Project Gutenberg catalog and lets users read any ebook on the device.
Reading enthusiasts can catch up on the latest Project Gutenberg releases with the stylish and sleek new user interface. The beautiful icons and large titles allow customers to easily navigate through hundreds of categories, such as Science Fiction, Children’s Literature, Poetry, and Fantasy, etc. The attractive user interface works on any Android phone or tablet devices. A variety of searches–author, title, subject, Google–help the users find exactly what they are looking for. Continue reading Gutenberg Android eReader app
The Curriki blog has a nice post highlighting 10 sources for free textbooks online. In addition to Curriki’s own site, they link to bookboon, flatworld knowledge, ck 12, open culture, Project Gutenberg, and others.
I can tell that fall is in the air, nearly every article on my list this week has to do with eTextbooks. Other good ones are there too, check them out. Happy reading.
Last Friday, the Boston Public Library added 15,000 Project Gutenberg books to it’s virtual library, supported by OverDrive. This new project between OverDrive and Project Gutenberg is currently in beta and allows libraries to provide access to these public domain titles at no charge. The titles are DRM free EPub books and users will not run into holds, checkouts, or authentication.
The full press release from OverDrive is available and current OverDrive customers who are interested in adding the Gutenberg titles to their own virtual library should contact OverDrive’s partner services group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m thrilled to inform you that No Shelf Required: E-books in Libraries will be released in late August. This edited book, published by ALA Editions, discusses a variety of eBook topics for school, public, and academic libraries. Since I have a bit of clout with the publisher, I’m able to release the TOC and introduction for your review and consideration. It is below. Of course, it will be available in a variety of eBook formats, and print too. Continue reading New Book About eBooks in Libraries – Release in August
The World eBook Fair, sponsored by Project Gutenberg, Internet Archive , World Public Library, and a multitude of others is in full swing, now until August 4th. This is the 5th annual fair, with over 3.5 million free PDF eBooks available for download. Access is free for one month, after which users are encouraged to join the World Public Library for the small fee of $8.95 per year. About 750,000 titles are available for PDF download from the World Public Library.
Michael Pastore of Zorba Press has released a revised edition of his benefits of eBooks title. The new title – 50 Benefits of Ebooks – is available now in .pdf form and soon in EPUB and paperback for the very small price of $2.00.
I like benefit #13 – Ebooks Are Cheaper to Buy
In this entry, Michael predicts “Ebook prices will plummet! Or I will eat this ebook” I hope so Michael. But if they don’t, what condiment will you put on those bits and bytes? gulp. Continue reading 50 Benefits of eBooks
The World eBook Fair runs from July 4th to August 4th, 2009. The goal of the fair is to provide FREE public access to 2 million eBooks for one month. Sponsors include Project Gutenberg, World Public Library, Ask.com, Internet Archive, and more. After the fair, readers may continue to access about 1/2 million ebooks for a small monthly fee, a subscription to the World Public Library.
From the wired.com blog
Sony Adds Half a Million Public Domain Google Books to Reader
By Charlie Sorrel March 19, 2009 | 5:36:39 AMCategories: Books
Sony has inked (e-inked?) a deal with Google to bring half a million public domain books to its Reader e-book device, but surprise! Being a Sony service it looks to be awkward to use and no better than just grabbing the texts from Project Gutenberg.
Google has been scanning and textifying public domain texts in its attempt to organize the world’s information, and now they’ll be available for Sony’s e-book reader. This initiative, while certainly laudable as a way to get free books properly formatted for the device, really shows up the Sony Reader and its lack of a wireless internet connection.
First, you need to go to the Sony eBook Store and grab the PC software. Then you can search from the comfort of your own computer the half million books Sony has grabbed from Google. Then you need to sideload the content onto your Reader.
Worse, try going to the eBook site to find the Google link. You’ll have to scroll around. Sony’s web designers have decided to make the word “Google” appear only in jpeg form, so no quick page-search to find it.
Oh, Sony. It’s a nice try, but we think you already lost this one. The Kindle is currently the iPod of e-book readers, and while it doesn’t do everything, what it does do it does right. Plus, you can download any of Project Gutenberg’s free books, or even Google’s, directly, even on the beach. If you really want to read Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility”, that is.
Product page [Sony]