Category Archives: News

News from around the world

In-depth Series on 40 Years of the eBook

A couple of days ago Marie Lebert released her 40 Years of Project Gutenberg mini guide. Hundreds of people have already downloaded the guide and for those who are seeking a more in-depth review on the history of the ebook, then you’re in luck as Marie will be sharing more articles over the coming weeks.

This series of articles marks the very end of a 12-year (1999-2011) research project, which has involved over 100 people world-wide. They all shared their experiences about the way the internet and digital technology has changed the book field across borders and languages. There’s also many references to little-known projects along the way. These are going to be a real treat for all e-bookworms.

Marie Lebert has previously published her articles in French (her native language) in the literary magazine Actualitté, between 16 May and 4 July 2011, but this is going to be the first time they are released in their entirety in English.

The first article will be published tomorrow (7 July 2011) as part of Marie’s celebration on the 40th anniversary of Project Gutenberg.

UPDATE: We now have an eBooks: 1971-2011 TOC post from which you can navigate the whole series.

 

40 Years of Project Gutenberg: A Mini Guide

As today marks the 40th anniversary of Project Gutenberg we have a special ebook gift for all our volunteers and visitors. Marie Lebert and friends have put together a mini picture guide on the history of Project Gutenberg; from the founding of the project by Michael Hart, to the first native French ebook, the inauguration of the Distributed Proof-readers, to the posting of ebook #30,000.

This is a PDF ebook and contains 15 pages of images, each accompanied with a short text covering the main milestones throughout PG’s 40 year history.

You can download the PDF by clicking on the following link;

Download “40 Years of Project Gutenberg: A Mini Guide” pg-40th-anniversary.pdf – Downloaded 2866 times – 726 kB

This is a great bite-size read, but if you’re hankering for more in-depth details, we’ve got you covered. More details to follow.

2011 is the Year of the eBook

There are three times as many ereader devices now than just a single year ago, and Amazon has just announced that their own eBooks now have eight authors selling over a million eBooks.

Of course, this is a million eBooks total, none of the eBooks are million sellers on their own, while sites such as Project Gutenberg, The World Public Library, and The Internet Archive have each had a number of “million seller eBooks” if you will allow that term for non-profit organizations.

The first World eBook Fair, just a handful of years ago, gave out a million copies of “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, in just a single month, well before Amazon’s Kindle came out, or Apple’s iPad, or any of the revolutionary devices that are now powering the world of commercial eBooks.

This Monday, the Fourth of July, marks large 40th Anniversary celebrations around the world of the first eBook that started as a simple snowball, as it were, turning into an avalanche. Continue reading 2011 is the Year of the eBook

World eBook Fair 2011

Come join the celebration, “It’s the Year of the eBook!”

We should be adding thousands of books, new and old, to the following libraries every single day for an entire month of July 4 to August 4, 2011 at our 6th annual World eBook Fair.

All are welcome!

We will have three eLibraries each with over a million books:

In addition to the 6.4 million items above, we will have some very impressive collections from:

We are also working on an additional large library collection and could easily pass 7.5 million items during this event. Continue reading World eBook Fair 2011

eBooks are now Outselling Paper Books

Michael Hart gives us a couple of of intresting pieces of news in this months PG Newsletter.

In a recent article, CNN wrote, “[a]s further proof of how digital media dominate today’s entertainment, Amazon announced Thursday that its customers now buy more e-books for its Kindle device than all print books — hardcover and paperback — combined.”

“Customers are now choosing Kindle books more often than print books. We had high hopes that this would happen eventually, but we never imagined it would happen this quickly — we’ve been selling print books for 15 years and Kindle books for less than four years,” according to Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos.

Also, the Association of American publishers are saying that ebook sales for March 2011 were just about 2.5 times [in dollars] what they were in March, 2010, and there’s more and more reports stating that eBooks are now outpacing paper in the various retail markets, and that’s not even counting the number of free eBooks being handed out all over the world.

This really is the “Year of the eBook!!!”

Cultural Genome created from eBooks

Ever since eBooks started people have been analyzing a variety of concepts, ideas, subjects, etc. about ways a language system works.

Believe it or not back in the days when The Oxford Text Archive was still thinking it could dominate the world, at least the virtual literary world, they spent several times an entire median income just counting up “and” as it was used by Shakespeare. This was only part of many different studies trying to determine if Shakespeare is really Shakespeare, or just some other bloke using that name to further his own interests.

Personally, I think they could have used something such as The Project Gutenberg Shakespeare along with program features in Wordstar, etc., to do the counting with the same kind of results, perhaps even more accurate, and a lot less wasted time and money.

Today’s Cultural Genome studies hopefully are done in seconds rather than a year and hopefully cost much less, unless someone is getting drastically overpaid just for supervising what could be done by student assistants, as was also done back in the day. Continue reading Cultural Genome created from eBooks

Oprah picks Public Domain titles for her Book Club

After all these years, Oprah finally made a selection–actually a pair of selections–from the public domain.

“A Tale Of Two Cities” and “Great Expectations” both by Charles Dickens and available for years from PG and all the other eBook distributors who use our materials.

In fact Tale Of Two Cities was one of our first 100 and is frequently on our Top 100 Downloads List.

The Associated Press and their subscribers seem to give Project Gutenberg some credit for the fact that a sales figure for this combined edition by Penguin is not up a lot higher than it’s current 43rd position.

I don’t expect Oprah to do any more public domain, as I think her selections have been more about the cash than the materials. I am evenly split on these two, as I hated Great Expectations, loved Tale of Two Cities.

Announcing the new Iambik Audiobook Company

Today we received an email from Hugh McGuire, the guy who started the fantastic LibriVox public domain audiobook community (with many of their source eBooks coming from Project Gutenberg), announcing the launch of his new audiobook company called Iambik Audio. In his email he says;

We are thrilled to announce the launch a new audiobook company – Iambik Audiobooks – based loosely on the LibriVox model, but working in tandem with publishers. We’ve got some great audiobooks from Lydia Millet, Gordon Lish, Felicia Luna Lemus, and Andrew Kaufman among others.

This looks a really interesting project and the fact that they use a revenue-share model with both the authors and narrators, this could be a really interesting way to boost both their salaries and reputations. Congrats go out to Hugh, I’m sure he will make Iambik a massive success.

You can access the website here; http://iambik.com

Here is the full Iambik Audio Press Release;

Continue reading Announcing the new Iambik Audiobook Company

Project Gutenberg: Timeline Events

The latest Project Gutenberg Grand Total figures have just passed 37,500 titles this past month and will have 40,000 eBooks during our 40th year celebration, 1,000 a year over 40 years doesn’t sound like much, but we are on track right now to do 5,000 this year.

We are currently giving away about 100,000 books a day, just through the one single site: gutenberg.org. About 3 million eBooks per month or 36 million per year.

In 2000 USB flash drives were just getting started with 8M “IBM Memory Sticks” available for about $60 and also 16M and 32M size were available.

Today 1,000 times as much memory, 8G, is available from over the counter stores for $20.

I just bought a somewhat larger “terabyte pocket drive” for $75 over the counter.  Larger is a relative term in this case, it’s still pocket-sized, but just requires a doubly larger pocket and the weight is noticeable and a “wall wart” power supply is required, so I should NOT think the term “pocket-sized would be appropriate but I bought it anyway, sight unseen, due to misunderstanding
or being misled by the advertising. Continue reading Project Gutenberg: Timeline Events

Working Towards Project Gutenberg’s 50th Year

One of our newest projects is to solicit suggestions as to where Project Gutenberg should be in it’s 50th year.  The current suggestions are:

  1. Make it more obvious that PG wants error messages–how to write them, where to send them, etc.
  2. Make it more obvious that PG will send DVD’s so the people who have to pay by the megabyte can use PG.
  3. An extensive library of human read audiobooks.
  4. Please make it more obvious how to do PG eBooks for Kindle, Sony, nook, and other eReaders.
  5. More current books under Creative Commons licenses. More apps for cellphones.  A model to encourage new writers to share their work in the same spirit. Showcase how people who used to be on the bad sides of various digital divides enjoyed and benefitted.
  6. Please add more bookshelves, particularly one to do eBooks from each country and make sure each one has at least one eBook to show how it can be done.
  7. Proofread the Top 100 or so downloaded books to the point where we they approach perfection.

As part of the last point above, we are right now looking for volunteers to fine tooth comb the PG eBooks of Alice In Wonderland, Through Looking-Glass & Hunting Of The Snark for errors. So we need as many volunteers as possible to let us know if you would like like to proofread Top Tens.

Continue reading Working Towards Project Gutenberg’s 50th Year