excellent initiative

July 3rd, 2005

Put your press pass and tape recorder away, it's old news, but it's definitely worth mentioning. What am I talking about? Project Gutenberg, an online repository of free ebooks. They pride themselves in having released 10,000 books online for anyone to read. That was by 2003, so the total number I don't know. But if you think it sounds a bit sketchy, here's a list of the Top 100 books (in fact several top100 lists), where you can verify that they have plenty of goodies on display.

Now, great as this initiative is here are two points of criticism:

  1. The books are not accessible enough. If I want a specific book, I can search for it but there is no categorizing into genres. The only meta info they provide is when the book was released by Project Gutenberg. So if you have some other outlet of books which lets you context search, search by genre, "customers who purchased this also purchased the following" etc, then you can use that and come back and look for the book you want. But that kind of meta info is very helpful in finding new books you may enjoy.
  2. The books are all in plain text format. Well, it's either plain text or html, but both look unformatted (no css) and very dull to read off the screen. Wouldn't it be great to also have .tex releases (or some other markup, I don't care which one) so that we could compile or own pdf's or other more user friendly formats?
    (To be fair, the html version has markup and I believe all books are marked up exactly the same way, so you could just write your own css but that has concrete limitations.)
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2 Responses to "excellent initiative"

  1. Erik says:

    The whole concept of e-books fils me with deep disgust

  2. numerodix says:

    aaaaw, that's cute