My thanks to all sharing books online | Everybody’s Libraries

“Two score and twelve years ago, Michael Hart sat down at a terminal at the University of Illinois and typed in the text of the Declaration of Independence. He shared the file he created with other users of the computer time-sharing system he was using, and spread it over what would eventually become the Internet as we know it today.

Thirty years ago this summer, Robert Stockton decided to adapt some of the electronic texts that Michael Hart’s Project Gutenberg had been putting online, and created some of the first illustrated hypertext books on the then-new World Wide Web. I’d just set up a web server at Carnegie Mellon, where he and I were at the time, and I set up a web page with links to his web editions, as well as to other books from Project Gutenberg and other early electronic text sites. That was the beginning of The Online Books Page, which, like Project Gutenberg, is still going today.

I’ve kept the service going for a number of reasons, some of which I recently discussed in an article Renata Ewing wrote for the University of California’s HathiTrust service. I’ve been motivated in part by the opportunities The Online Books Page provides for prototyping and demonstrating ways to discover, organize, and link information about books and serials (some of which can then be also used to increase the usefulness of library collections more broadly). But I’ve also been motivated by the opportunities to publicize and encourage the work of lots of people who share literature, and knowledge about literature, with readers across the world on the internet….”

‘Lessons from Project Gutenberg: OG OA’ | Open Access Books Network

Eric will be speaking on Thursday 17th November at 3pm GMT about his work with Project Gutenberg and Distributed Proofreaders, and how these experiences have informed his perspectives on the early days of open access and more recent developments in OA books. Sign up here!

You’ve probably heard of “Green” OA (Open Access), “Gold” OA, maybe something new-fangled like “Diamond” or “Quartz” OA. But you probably haven’t heard of “OG OA, and I’m hear to tell you about it. New-fangled it’s definitely not! OG is short for “Original Gangster”, not “Old Guy”, athough… 

“Original Gangster” in modern slang refers to someone who is “Old School”. An OG was cool before cool even existed, and has overcome hurdles the young kids wouldn’t ever understand. The OG has such original style that who even cares about fashion or trends?

The OG of Open Access is Project Gutenberg. Before the Kindle, before the web, before the PC, Michael Hart started typing in “texts” and making them available online. For free, though you had to pay for the phone time. The original ebook was never meant to be the clunky reader gadgets that corporations were trying to sell, it was bits you could get online. Project Gutenberg invented the ebook as we know it.

Fifty one years later, Project Gutenberg is going stronger than ever. This month, it will post its 70,000th publication, most of them public domain, and all of them free. Every year, readers download 50 million ebooks from Project Gutenberg, making it second only to Amazon in terms of ebooks delivered. More than one billion-dollar company has gotten its start by doing interesting things with text from Project Gutenberg.


Saving Alexandria with Project Gutenberg’s Dr. Greg Newby – The Poor Prole’s Almanac | Podcast on Spotify

“In this episode, we chat with Executive Director of Project Gutenberg, Dr. Greg Newby. We talk about the role of open access to knowledge and how copyright has played into a complicated mess that inhibits artistic development.”

Lebert, Marie, A short history of ebooks

Table of contents:

1. Project Gutenberg, a visionary project

2. The milestones of Project Gutenberg

3. PDF, a pioneer format created by Adobe

4. Gabriel, a portal for European national libraries

5. The British Library and its treasures

6. From PDAs to smartphones

7. The first e-readers

8. E Ink, an electronic ink technology

9. Online dictionaries and encyclopedias

10. Experiments by best-selling authors

11. From OeB to EPUB as a standard format

12. Wikipedia, an encyclopedia for the world

13. The Creative Commons licence

14. From Google Print to Google Books

15. The Internet Archive, a library for the world

16. eBooks seen by some pioneers

17. A tribute to librarians around the world

18. A timeline from 1971 until now

Standard eBooks builds upon Project Gutenberg to offer a better reading experience – Good e-Reader

“Project Gutenberg has always been a commendable literary initiative that ensured the classic titles of yore lived on in the digital age. While that is great, the eBooks lack consistent typography. Cover art leaves something to be disired, in addiiton to many typos, that can mar the reading experience considerably.

It is here that the Standard eBooks come into the picture. As the name suggests, the Standard eBook refers to a set of guidelines that each of their eBooks is required to comply with. What that means is each of the books taken from Project Gutenberg re subjected to a laid-down procedure for publishing.

That includes formatting and typesetting with the help of a ‘professional-grade style manual.’ Also, each book is proofread with corrections made wherever necessary. It is only after this that a new digital edition of the book is created using the latest e-reader and browser technologies. This ensures each of the Standard ebooks thus created is compatible with almost all known e-reader devices currently in vogue….”

Free Ebook Foundation Programs: Downloadable Project Gutenberg.

“Today, there are still parts of the world where access to the global internet is limited. Rural parts of world from Alaska to Africa have bandwidth to that is unevenly distributed. Other parts of the world may be disconnected because of censorship or social strife.

In response, the Internet-in-a-Box project has produced open-source designs for self-contained hotspots based on RaspberryPi computers. Content modules can be installed by plugging in USB drives with self-contained websites. The Kiwix Project, already behind the “Offline Wikipedia” distribution effort, has been developing content modules and the ZIM compressed file format that facilitates this process. Project Gutenberg is a 48 year old organization whose mission is to make public domain works available for free on the internet. To date, over 60,000 works, mostly books, have been posted.

USB flash drives that can store 128GB are now available for only $20 – that’s more than enough storage for all 60,000 books in Project Gutenberg. An offline version of Project Gutenberg had been developed by the Kiwix team, but still needed a last push to implement key usability features….”

AIB-WEB – Per l’immediato ripristino dell’accesso a Project Gutenberg

From Google’s English:  “The AIB Censorship Observatory considers it extremely serious and worrying that, by order of seizure of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Rome as part of an investigation into digital piracy, the Guardia di Finanza has blocked access from Italy to the Project Gutenberg ( ), freely accessible and non-profit portal that since 1971 has collected reproductions of books in the public domain, not subject to copyright.

As everyone knows, Project Gutenberg promotes the widest dissemination and knowledge of the registered cultural memory. For years it has been hosted by large universities that made their servers available, before becoming an autonomous organization, one of the main of this type and inspiring model for many other similar ones (such as the Manutius Project in Italy), mainly supported by work. of many volunteers.

We reiterate that it is one of the most qualified projects on the net, with a large amount of documents accessible for free in compliance with the US Copyright Act, because it is in the USA that it is based: they are works in the public domain, out of rights because they have always been public domain (such as the Bible) or because the maximum terms of duration of copyright have passed….”

Italian Public Prosecutor Says Project Gutenberg’s Collection Of Public Domain Books Must Be Blocked For Copyright Infringement | Techdirt

“Back in 2013, we made clear our concerns with the Italian communications watchdog AGCOM setting up new administrative copyright enforcement powers that would allow them to simply up and declare sites to be infringing, at which point ISPs would be ordered to block websites. Soon after that Italy’s public prosecutor seemed to decided that part of his job was also to order websites blocked based solely on the public prosecutor’s say so.

In the latest such order from the Public Prosecutor’s office declaring a list of sites to be infringing, apparently Italy has decided that the famous and wonderful Project Gutenberg website, which is a repository of public domain books, must be blocked. I don’t know about the other 27 sites listed in the order, but Project Gutenberg is no piracy site. Yet here it is ….”

Project Gutenberg and the Crusader of Copyright – Andrea Monti

“A few days ago, on May 11, 2020, the Court of Rome issued a web access blocking order against This domain was “seized” as part of an investigation against copyright infringement and the illegal distribution of newspapers and magazines following the technical investigation of the Guardia di Finanza’s privacy and technological fraud Special Branch (Nucleo speciale tutela privacy e frodi tecnologiche)  

This would be nothing odd, except the fact that, in reality, is a project for the digitization and free online publication of books in the public domain, i.e. on which there are no rights of economic exploitation (in practice, publishers are not entitled to profit from the work of authors). It is quite difficult to “make money” to the detriment of publishers if publishers have no rights on those books, but the investigators did not notice it, and the judge did not check….”

Snewd | Free Ebooks Forever

“Snewd was created for the purpose of producing high quality, free eBooks for the public. Many of our books come from sources such as Project Gutenburg. We source the raw file, then format and edit them into professional style eBooks. Our books are in the public domain so feel free to download them after checking your countries copyright laws. 

At Snewd, every eBook we produce is free to download. We upload new books every day so be sure to join our mailing list for new releases. You can find out more about Snewd and why we provide free eBooks by clicking the about page. You can also email us at if you have any inquiries. …”