Thursday, August 31, 2006

Woo-hoo, Free Books! Kinda.

Remember Project Gutenberg? The war on paper continues!

In the words of Egon Spengler - "Print is dead". I love quoting that one at work.

Auntie Google, as of today, are now offering full PDF downloads of public-domain books. Okay, so they are only offering stuff with expired copyrights, and there's no substitute for paper and ink in your hand (your can't wipe your arse with a laptop) this does open the door to a rather nice pay-to-download service.

Quoting Google blog:

To find out-of-copyright books that you can download, simply select the "Full view" radio button when you search on books.google.com. (Please note that we do not enable downloading of any book currently under copyright. Unless we have the publisher’s permission to show more, we display only small snippets of text –- at most, two or three sentences surrounding your search term -– to help you determine if you’ve found what you’re looking for.)

Of course, this is just the beginning. As we digitize more of the world's books -- whether rare, common, popular or obscure -- people everywhere will be able to discover them on Google Book Search.

Google Book Search has been leaning towards this kinda thing for a while now, and (while nowt particularly new) it's a jolly good idea that puts a few sonnets under the noses of them that might not have the access otherwise.

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