Most ereader owners will have heard of The Gutenberg Project, the website that offers an enormous range of free ebooks in all formats. But for most of us this means the American version of this site, which can only offer ebooks up to the cut off date for copyright in the USA – I am not sure when that is, but the result is that all the ebooks there are pretty ancient. I have the impression that the cut off date is somewhere in the thirties of the previous century.
However, in Australia the cut of date for copyright is much more recent, being about 50 years after the death of the author, so the Australian version of the Gutenberg can and does have ebooks that were written as recently as the late 50′s of the last century. This means that they can offer ebooks to us that are more or less current, rather than simply offering Alice in Wonderland and ebooks of similar vintage. though they do have ebooks written up to a couple of thousand years ago in their lists.
Not only do they have relatively recent ebooks to offer us, they also have a superb collection of Australian writing as well, and all for free!
So if you own any sort of ereader, and are looking for free ebooks, then it is worth a visit to this Australasian site and having a snuffle around it.
Also in Russian or Croat…
There are also a whole range of local Gutenberg sites which if you are looking for ebooks in for example, Finnish, Luxembourgish, Philippino, Russian, Serbian, or Chinese there is a version of Gutenberg set up specially for you as well. Each one of which offers ebooks that are copyright free according to the laws of those individual countries, so also much more recent than the American site. So no matter what language you speak, there is probably a version of Gutenberg set up specifically for you, which is a pleasant thought, no?
All DRM free.
Another good point about the various Gutenberg sites is that all the ebooks they offer are totally free of any form of DRM ( anti-copy software), so you can cheerfully swap ebooks with all your friends and family without a care in the world.
Only bad point.
There is one infuriating aspect of all Gutenberg ebooks, and that is that if there were any illustrations in the original paper version fot he book in question, they happily list them, and even helpfully mark where they occur in the book, bit don’t actually include the illustration. This can be very frustrating when an illustration is refereed to in the text, or is important in some way or other to the story .. I do wish they wouldn’t do this.
So, here are some links to various Gutenberg sites, check them out, they are well worth it.
If you find that any of these links don’t work, please let me know, as I have noticed that several I wanted to include are dead or broken links, so this is obviously a rather volatile area of the web.
- PG-EU is a sister project which operates under the copyright law of the European Union. One of its aims is to include as many languages as possible into Project Gutenberg. It operates in Unicode to ensure that all alphabets can be represented easily and correctly.
- Project Gutenberg Australia hosts many texts which are public domain according to Australian copyright law, but still under copyright (or of uncertain status) in the United States, with a focus on Australian writers and books about Australia.
- Project Gutenberg Canada.
- Project Gutenberg Consortia Center is an affiliate specializing in collections of collections. These do not have the editorial oversight or consistent formatting of the main Project Gutenberg. Thematic collections, as well as numerous languages, are featured.
- Projekt Gutenberg-DE claims copyright for its product and limits access to browsable web-versions of its texts.
- Project Gutenberg Europe is a project run by Project Rastko in Serbia. It aims at being a Project Gutenberg for all of Europe, and started to post its first projects in 2005. It uses the Distributed Proofreaders software to quickly produce etexts.
- Project Gutenberg Luxembourg publishes mostly, but not exclusively, books that are written in Luxembourgish.
- Projekti Lönnrot, a project started by Finnish Project Gutenberg volunteers, derives its name from the Finnish philologist Elias Lönnrot (1802-1884)
- Project Gutenberg of the Philippines aims to “make as many books available to as many people as possible, with a special focus on the Philippines and Philippine languages”.
- Project Gutenberg Russia is a project that aims to collect public domain books in Slavic languages, Russian in particular. The discussion of the project and its legal side began in April 2012. The word Rutenberg is a combination of words “RUssia” and “Gutenberg”.
- Project Gutenberg Self Publishing Unlike the Gutenberg Project itself, Project Gutenberg Self Publishing allows submission of texts never published before, including self-published ebooks.
- Project Gutenberg of Taiwan seeks to archive copyright free books with a special focus on Taiwan in English, Mandarin and Taiwan-based languages. It is a special project of Forumosa.com
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Have you come across any other branches of the Gutenberg tree? do let us know about them.