Digital Public Library of America
Ebook Friendly’s Piotr Kowalczyk provides an updated list of sites that offer free public domain books in electronic and audio format. Piotr writes:
Every year new publications enter public domain. That means their intellectual property rights have expired or are not applicable any longer. The content of these works becomes available for public use. Anyone is free to use it – but also to reuse it, for instance publish a new edition. Therefore you may find in major ebookstores (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBook Store, or Google Play Books) public domain books that are not free. My advice is that if you want to get an ebook version of a classic novel like Pride and Prejudice, you should first check out the sites listed below. Browsing the ebookstore where you have an account is a next step, if you don’t find what you’re looking for.
Here’s a sampling of sites provided:
1. Project Gutenberg – Project Gutenberg is a top destination for free ebooks on the web. It’s [the] first ebook initiative in the world, established by Michael S. Hart in 1971.
2. Europeana – Europeana offers access to millions of digitized items from European museums, libraries, and archives.
3. Digital Public Library of America – DPLA is aimed at giving universal access to digital resources of American libraries and archives.
4. Internet Archive – The website is a huge repository of text, audio and video files, including public domain titles. You can browse and read online over 5 million books and items from over 1,500 collections.
5. Open Library – The site is a project of the Internet Archive and is intended to create “one web page for every book ever published.”
Open Access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder. OA is entirely compatible with peer review, and all the major OA initiatives for scientific and scholarly literature insist on its importance. Just as authors of journal articles donate their labor, so do most journal editors and referees participating in peer review. OA literature is not free to produce, even if it is less expensive to produce than conventionally published literature. The question is not whether scholarly literature can be made costless, but whether there are better ways to pay the bills than by charging readers and creating access barriers. Business models for paying the bills depend on how OA is delivered. – Peter Suber
For more information, click here.
It comes as no surprise to the average college student that free textbook usage is increasing and will more than likely continue to increase at a speedy clip given the high cost of today’s textbooks.
According to a Rice University news release, more than 1.5 million college students have used a free textbook from OpenStax, the university-based publisher. “The number of students using OpenStax textbooks has more than doubled since January, and OpenStax estimates it will save students $70 million in the 2016-17 academic year…More than 811,000 students are using [OpenStax] books this fall, which is a 106 percent increase over spring 2016, and the books are being used in over 4,500 courses at 2,688 universities, colleges and high schools.”