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Posts tagged Project Gutenberg

The early history of e-books
March 13, 2014 | 11:05 am

Host-by-Peter-James-002The Guardian has taken a look back at early e-books, trying to determine when they began. One example the article points out is a novel called Host, published as a publicity stunt on two floppy disks in 1993. Since the book was about a scientist who downloads his mind into a computer, I imagine it seemed like a natural way to drum up some publicity. The Bookseller reports that London’s Science Museum has accepted the book for display as “the world’s first electronic novel,” but there seems to be some question as to whether that’s really true. As the...

Pounding It Out With Ol Ez: Ezra Pound’s Birthday
October 30, 2013 | 2:25 pm

ezra poundOctober 30th marks the birth of Ezra Pound (1885-1972), one of those giants of 20th-century literature who, thanks to the same quirk of copyright timing that affected his contemporaries and sometimes collaborators (no, no, not that kind of collaborator ...) James Joyce and T.S. Eliot,  has a large part of his oeuvre freely available online. Project Gutenberg, to name but one source, has many of his early poems and translations, including his translations from Chinese and his apprentice masterpiece Hugh Selwyn Mauberley. The Open Library also carries numerous essays and articles. You could build entire poetic careers out of one...

The Scottish split personality – and its free online icons
September 13, 2013 | 3:03 pm

Scottish novelist Ewan Morrison has just done an epic-length dissection of one of the more celebrated peculiarities of the Caledonian mind in the UK's The Guardian - and one whose iconic fictional prototypes are available online as free ebooks. That is, the fact that it's two minds - or rather, a deeply divided and mutually antagonistic split personality. This personality disorder has been dubbed the "Caledonian Antisyzygy" - a coinage so clumsy and rebarbative that only a gritty, craggy, canny, calculating Scottish academic mind could have hatched it. And the classic incarnation (or incarnations) of this state of mind/minds is Robert...

Back to School Week, Part 2: Where To Get E-Books for Your Kids
September 6, 2013 | 11:46 am

e-bookIn my "Back to School Week, Part 1" post, I talked about some books for parents. Today, I'm talking about books for kids. Where can you get them? The library is one obvious answer. So is the store which came with your device—Kindle, Kobo, Sony, etc.. But what if you are, like me, only purchasing DRM-free books these days? Where can you get quality stuff which is appropriate for your kids? Here are some off-the-beaten-path recommendations: 1. Public Domain Repositories Most of us already know about Project Gutenberg. But for children's books, where graphics and layout matters, The Internet Archive Children's Library is a wonderful...

Book Review: Yesterday’s Classics E-Book Collection
August 27, 2013 | 8:09 pm

Yesterday's ClassicsIt's my last week of summer vacation, and I'll be spending it planning for the coming school year. I have been delighted to find a growing niche of publishers that are targeting the back-to-school market with specialized e-book collections, and this e-book collection comes from one such publisher. Yesterday's Classics is part of a website called The Baldwin Project, which formats children's classics and offers them in print, via email subscription, or online as a plain-text website or interactive learning portal. The first 225 releases are available in Mobi or ePub, in a bundle that they were kind enough to provide for me to...

Marcel Proust’s birthday: A day to remember things past — for free
July 10, 2013 | 4:00 pm

Today, June 10th, marks the birth date of another great 20th-century modern novelist: Marcel Proust, author of the celebrated, and massive, work, "À la recherche du temps perdu" ("Remembrance of Things Past"). And luckily, by the same quirk of copyright that has left the work of Proust's only rival for the title of greatest modern novelist, James Joyce, in the public domain and up for grabs, not only is Proust available gratis in the original French, but the finest ever single translation of his work, which set the standard for all succeeding renditions into English, is also available online for free. Some...

Orkney’s Edwin Muir shows the strengths of Project Gutenberg Canada
July 2, 2013 | 8:25 pm

Project GutenbergThe remote Scottish Orkney Islands have a remarkably strong cultural presence for their few bleak acres of windswept turf. As it happens, it is just that heritage that is being celebrated right now in the year-long series of events entitled Writing the North, "a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh, the Shetland Museum and Archives and the Orkney Library and Archive." And one of the great Orcadian writers, the poet, novelist and cultural controversialist Edwin Muir (1887–1959), happens to be available in e-book form completely for free from Project Gutenberg Canada in an edition that showcases that institution's strengths, his 1937 collection...

EPUB 3: DOA?
June 3, 2013 | 5:00 pm

EPUB 3Much back-and-forth debate has circulated recently about the latest iteration of the EPUB standard, EPUB 3—no surprise with IDPF Digital Book 2013, the International Digital Publishing Forum’s annual shindig, having just concluded in New York City. But whatever the merits of the standard, tardy implementation and half-hearted adoption is likely to stymie efforts to get the international publishing industry to … ahem … standardize on it. Just from the point of timing, some commentators put final rollout of EPUB3 at six to 12 months time … if adoption has any real meaning anyway. The European Booksellers Federation, for one, is supporting a high-level EU...

Ted Heller comes out without a jacket
May 22, 2013 | 10:15 am

Ted HellerAs already noted in TeleRead, author Ted Heller has recently been bemoaning his woes as a self-publisher in Slate. He's now followed up with a further bulletin on his tribulations as an e-reader, first run on The Weeklings and also aired since on Slate. In particular, he cites the demise of that mobile billboard, the book jacket. Heller takes issue with the fact that Kindles and their ilk never show others your reading choices. "The Kindle tells you nothing about the book that’s being read and therefore nothing about the person reading it," Heller observes—though I'd object that this comes down...

Say hey to Paul St John Mackintosh, our newest contributing writer
May 18, 2013 | 10:47 am

Paul St John MackintoshMy life on the borderland between text and tech started in adolescence as a sci-fi nerd, dreaming of a future that started to come true around the release of the first Star Wars film, and has since been outstripping most fancies from that era year on year, hand over fist. As a writer and editor, though, I only got into electronic text by chance when I took a job editing and localizing entries for the first generation of Microsoft's Encarta CD-ROM encyclopedia in the mid-1990s, when multimedia, never mind the Internet, was only just getting going. I spent the next five...

Perdrix TXT e-reading app (review)
March 19, 2013 | 12:03 pm

Perdrix TXTHave you ever run across a solution looking for a problem? Unfortunately, that's my reaction to Perdrix TXT, a new e-reading app for iPhone and iPad. The developer contacted me over the weekend and gave me a promo code for a free review copy, and I gave it a look. Here's what they say about the app on their site: Getting closer to the real book experience… Focused on book immersion, this app features innovative design such as book side views, life-like bookmark and a separate Search screen. Read free e-books and plain text files. At a quick glance that sounds good. The app...

Check out my first-ever e-book reader!
March 14, 2013 | 4:26 pm

I mentioned earlier that it's been spring cleaning week here. Well, in amongst one of those random boxes of this and that, I unearthed this gem: my first-ever e-book reader! Back when I purchased this puppy for $50 plus shipping off eBay (a fortune!), it was 2005 and I was living in New Zealand for a year, doing a graduate program. The town I lived in was the fourth-largest in the country, but to my jaded North American city girl eyes, it was hardly a bustling metropolis. There were cows five minutes up the road from me. There was a sheep...