Free for the Asking
Can the time even be imagined when printing of all books was by hand? Before the year 1440, that was the case. The printing press, invented in that year by the German, Johannes Gutenberg, changed the world forever. Books are everywhere now, both in printed and electronic versions. The internet provided the next step in how books and content arrive today for sure. Few seem to realize that thousands of exciting, high quality, excellent books are available for FREE today.
Thank the copyright laws of the United States. After copyrighted content, such as that in a book, has been in existence for a specified time period, it goes into the public domain. No entity owns the rights at that point, not even the author or heirs of the authors. A fabulous, little known, nonprofit organization, Project Gutenberg, took on the task of proofing and digitizing books in the public domain. The best part is they post them online for anyone to use for free.
The news gets even better. These titles are available in files for a PC, Kindle, iPad, iPhone, or Android. Many of the titles are available as audio files as well as print. Both computer-generated and human readings of the text exist. Multiple formats are available of these high-quality works.
What titles have already been digitized? That list now exceeds 36,000 titles and includes; The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, War and Peace, and Pride and Prejudice, just to name a few. Non-fiction titles are available, too. For instance, an interesting piece, The Art of Money Getting, is a book on the thoughts of the famous circus magnate, P. T. Barnum, and how he became rich. The online site has an easy to use search catalog and a handy link to their top favorite downloads. The organization provides daily updates on books available.
How does Project Gutenberg afford to do this? Yes, it sounds too good. They work on donations and ask for volunteer readers. Be sure if downloading books from a country other than the United States to check the copyright laws for that country, as some differ from those US laws. Also, the spelling of the name Gutenberg is essential for locating these works. Enjoy!