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Sunday, 8th November 2009

An Interview with Project Gutenberg Founder Michael Hart

Andrea Kobeskzo recently interviewed Michael Hart and now you can read the Q & A interview on the Project Gutenberg News Portal.

Here's an interesting passage when Kobeskzo asks Hart about how Project Gutenberg has evolved over the years (PG began in 1971). Hart says:

Believe it or not people were still saying eBooks were never going to make it just a few years ago. Look for a quote in the Wall St. Journal: “Ebooks are never going to make it.” Before that the NY Times: look for: “twitchy” screen. However now that it’s obvious they are moving eBooks on their own, but I can’t tell how serious they are. They may just be following the rule of simple reporting: “Follow The Money.” If eBooks fall flat will they all just move on and pretend there was never any interest?

The first goal of PG was just to prove eBooks feasible. My own estimations were that it would take about 10,000, and that seems to have proved correct as Google called me in to advise them ASAP after we hit 10,000, and we went to do just that on December 14, 2003: and they announced they had invented eBooks and eLibraries December 14, 2004. However, they did the opposite, or rather exact opposite of what I said they should do and look what happened. Most of the big legal fray is because they were more money oriented, and as such may have intentionally played the copyright cards that got them in the big legal hassles. If they had started out by emphasizing the public domain it probably would have worked out a lot better for them in the press as the good will they would have built up would have gone a long way.

Personally, I am OK with nearly any eBook format that is compact and search quote friendly.

Access the Complete Interview


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