Thursday, August 31, 2006

Google's Classic Book Downloads

Some Interesting News...

Have you had a chance to check out Google's free book downloads? They are offering PDF files of many classic volumes. These are page images of antique books that are in the public domain, not just text files of their written content. It's the next best thing to holding the book in your own hands.

This Google feature should provide many hours of interesting browsing.

The Library of Congress American Memory website has some interesting and informative magazines, periodicals and books from America's past. I've always been amazed that in most cases, the libraries or universities that digitized them put a copyright on the page images that restricts anything but educational or personal use (example).

It doesn't seem right to me to claim copyright on something that's in the public domain. I'm glad that Google isn't putting restrictions on the use of their page images -- or at least I couldn't find any copyright restrictions in the information.

I'm also glad that the downloads are small enough that even an internet user with dial-up can enjoy some of the books.

Here's the Google Blog post about the new service, and here's an example of an antique book that's available for download -- Ella Lincoln: Or Western Prairie Life, An Autobiography.

To find public domain texts, go to the book search and choose to search in "Full Text". As you visit the various results, any that offer a "Download" are in the public domain.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.