As the availability of eBooks has skyrocketed since its conception in 1971, the Internet has revolutionized ways people can purchase and view books. There now exist many ways to find books and novels online including some free options if the work has entered the public domain.
What is the public domain?
The public domain describes when a creative of scientific work has its intellectual property rights expire and becomes available for use member of society. In the case of books, copyrights generally expire a number of years after the death of the author. When those rights expire, you may be able to find a version of it online that can be downloaded to be read on other formats or read directly off a computer.
What is Google Libraries?
Google Libraries is a project that seeks to improve access of the world’s books to the average internet user. It scans many published works and converts it to a readable and searchable format. For works with existing copyrights, Google Libraries reveals portions of texts as previews or “snippets” so that users may indentify out of print works that may be useful to them. Most importantly, books that enter the public domain may be downloaded for free from this service into an eBook format. Books that have not entered public domain may also be downloaded if the author or publisher has allowed for the free digital distribution of his or her work.
What are some other resources for online books and novels?
The University of Pennsylvania maintains an online books library that aggregates the free content of eBook publishers and transcribers across the Internet. The largest contributor of eBooks to this library is the Gutenberg Project that conceived of the first eBook in 1971 – the US Declaration of Independence, with the dream of allowing personal digital libraries catered to individual interests. One may either search or browse the library and the entries will link to another site that hosts the book online.
Additionally, there is the website openlibrary.org that hosts over one million free eBooks. Openlibrary.org is a project hosted by the Internet Achieve, a non-profit that documents important digital data and artifacts. Unlike other collections, it is open source so any one may edit the catalogue, add books or correct mistakes. Free online books are hosted the website and accessed through a readers. The reader supports scrolling and zoom functions for easy user accessibility. In addition to access to free eBooks, there is also a “lending library” where a user can “borrow” an eBook for two weeks at a time.