Project Gutenberg is the first and largest single collection of free electronic books, or eBooks. Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg, invented eBooks in 1971 and continues to inspire the creation of eBooks and related technologies today.Imaging going to a never ending bookshelf to pick your next book to read. Project Gutenberg is a volunteer organization working to make every public domain (copyright-free) book available in electronic form. Unfortunately copyright law has changed since Project Gutenberg was started. While a book used to be public domain 28 years after written, the law now says the author must be dead for 50 years. Nevertheless, there is quite a collection of interesting books available -- 25,000 free books for that matter (over 22,000 in English), with over 100,000 if you include partners and affiliates of Project Gutenberg.
To give you an idea of the quality of the ebooks available, with nearly 90,000 downloads in just 1 day, here is a list of the top 10 authors downloaded yesterday (27-Aug-2008) -- link to top 100 authors from yesterday:
- Dickens, Charles (1165)
- Twain, Mark (1150)
- Miles, Alexander (969)
- Thomson, Alexis (969)
- Austen, Jane (941)
- Doyle, Arthur Conan, Sir (923)
- Horne, Charles F. (Charles Francis) (758)
- Thomson, J. Arthur (726)
- Shakespeare, William (725)
- Verne, Jules (634)
This past weekend I loaded Peter Pan onto my iPod, and we listened while traveling. My children were pleasantly surprised that there was more to Peter Pan than they realized.
Project Gutenberg does not end here though, you can also find music, sheet music, pictures, and movies. For example, you might want to relive the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing or Mary Had a Little Lamb spoken by Thomas Edison -- the first words into a phonograph.
I could go on and on. Give Project Gutenberg a look next time you're looking for book to read or even next time you're looking for a great volunteer project.