Friday, 20th July 2007
eBooks, eBooks, and More eBooks
July 2007 will be a busy month when the history of full text online books is written. :-)
First, the second annual World eBook Fair is live this month. Nearly 750,000 free ebooks, ready to search and download, in most cases as PDF files. All free. Once the fair is over the World Public Library offers full text access to hundreds of thousands of ebooks for a very small annual fee. Much more about both services in this post.
Second, we posted about a new national ebook project in the UK.
Today, word that a sample of material from The Open Library from the Open Content Alliance is now live at http://www.openlibrary.org. There is an excellent post at Ars Technica about the site.
However, from what we can tell after looking at cached versions of OpenLibrary.org, material has been available here for some time. Here's a cached page from Gigablast (2005) and The WayBack Machine from January 4, 2007. The page and content that's live today is the same as what we see with the cached versions of the site. In fact, some of the books were also added to The Wayback Archive in late 2006. Example.
Does it really matter? No. It's likely today what the official launch and the ars technica article is a worthy ready.
Of course, don't forget that MANY public libraries offer access to services like NetLibrary (full text NEW books) and ebrary. In fact, ebrary also offers a service with free full text access to over 20,000 books. You just pay to print a page or save it to your hard drive.
Postscript: How could we post about ebooks and note mention the following AMAZING resources:
1) The International Children's Digital Library
Full text, full image books in many languages. Very cool search interface.
2) The Online Books Page from the University of Pennsylvania
Look at how much is added in just a few days.
UPDATE: Don't Forget the Digital Book Index
It currently lists over 137,000 titles, more than 97,000 of them free.
UPDATE: Barbara Quint Has More About OpenLibrary.org
Like always, BQ offers up tons of details.