Project Gutenberg

Thousands of free e-books!!! Has anyone actually used the site before. I have actually found it quite good.

ANy comments welcome

I use it occasionally. It’s a useful resource for when I want to kill some time, but reading a book on the screen just can’t compare to actually curling up with one.

Yes. In fact in the column Houdini secrets, Cecil mentioned “Miracle Mongers and Their Methods” by Houdini, which I downloaded and read.

As for “reading a book on screen” I find that I can’t really read one on my PC, but if I convert it to an eBook for my Palm it works really well. It is still something I can hold in my hand, take with me to the couch, backyard, the table, etc., and since it fits in my pocket I can take the book(s) with me. I currently have 7 eBooks and 2 eNews(papers) in my Palm.

I’ve downloaded a bunch, but as lno said, the computer screen just doesn’t compare to an actual physical book.

Still, I’m glad they’re around.

When I saw the title, I thought it had something to do with the Stonecutters.

“Book”? What’s a “book”?

I’ve read some of the Old English stuff. I like that sort of thing.

I’m a big fan of it.

I print out and then read.

Since books are the only area in which I consider myself a Luddite (and with great pride and conviction, too), this makes me shudder.

On the other hand, it is a cool example of seed marketing. Then again, it is seed marketing EVIL and DOOM.

It is indeed hard to read an entire book on a computer screen. If you want a book you can enjoy in little snippets, rather than having to sit down and READ, download The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce. Very funny, and I’ve found it quite handy for wasting a few minutes here and there while I wait for class to begin.

I’m with Muffin on this.

Download the Gutenberg version, then print it. 600 DPI! Your choice of paper! Your favorite font! What luxury! Frankly, I feel guilty. It makes whatever I’m reading so much more pleasurable.

The only, only problem is that Gutenberg isn’t allowed access to the most modern, footnoted, annotated versions. So if you’re reading something in translation, for example, it’s better to look elsewhere.

I’d also suggest The Online Books Page

I think Project Gutenburg’s been around nearly as long as the www. It was one of those things back in the text-only days that made the web so promising to me. I downloaded the book of Genesis and actually read the whole thing. Every once in a while I’ll check it out but since I read mostly topical non-fiction type stuff these days I buy books. It’s good to know it’s always there, though.

I’ve read a couple of things from Project Gutenberg, but I find the fast pace of many modern works has spoiled me for the more leisurely pace of many classics. I like the classic kid-lit, though.

I’m a total e-book nut - anyone who knows me from snopes can attest that I’m almost obsessive on the subject - but I agree that a computer screen is not the best medium for enjoying them. I heartily recommend a Palm. You don’t need a high-end one with a lot of bells and whistles, either - I have an M100 and it does me just fine.

Best feature - you can turn on the backlight and read in the dark!


As a boring etymologist and researcher, I find it useful to be able to call up a book and search for a word/phrase using control + F. Saves hours reading the book and missing the word/phrase in a stupor.

Interestingly enough (well, maybe not) I was involved with a startup that wanted to bring a two-screen reading device to market. Their logic was that the book is the best reading experience and no one wants to scroll to read. But, so they thought, wouldn’t it be nice to carry hundreds of books in one book-like form-factor? The biggest problem was bringing the device to market cheaply enough…

Was this a company in Silicon Valley? I had a boss who was a big advocate.

Some advantages about paper are:

  1. Texture. Newsprint isn’t very interesting, but the texture of cotton or slick high-clay content paper is wonderful.

  2. The illumination of paper changes when the paper’s tilted. I find being able to change light intensity without thinking provides restful variation.

  3. For those books I want annotate, I’d rather read notes in my handwriting, than typed notes.

  4. With high quality printing the DPI can easily go to 1200. For those like me, whose prefer very small details, paper’s best for detail.

Of course, there are advantages to the screen, too.

Huh? I don’t follow.

Yes it’s cool. I do find the laptop better to read on the couch or in bed rather than sitting at a desk with the PC.

I’m with Nonny mouse about using it for your palm. I’m carrying around the Bible, Anna Karenina, Shake-a-spere, Guy de Maupassant, all in my little purse. (how much would THAT weigh as traditional books?)

I love traditional books, but I also love Project Gutenberg. While there’s nothing as comfortable and enjoyable as a printed book, PG has a lot of books that you’d have a hard time finding in your local library (like the highly enjoyable works of Rafael Sabatini). I am disappointed that they don’t have more, but since it’s all done by volunteers, I’ll shade them that.

Thanks for mentioning the Online Books Page; I’ll have to check that out.