Starting this morning, Google Books is offering downloads of “entire works”, for free. For the past two years Google has been working with university liabraries from California, Michigan, England and a few in between. They have digitized anything and everything. Today, Google posted all of their copies of “public domain” books.
So if you’re looking for Shakespeare, Dante, Aesop’s Fables, etc. Google says you can download an entire copy (in pdf form) from their service. You can print just the pages you need, do online searches inside the text, etc.
Google is paying for the service by running small text ads on searches. So if you search for ‘water’ in Dante’s Inferno you’ll get your results plus ads running down the side for bottled water, water purifiers, etc.
Here’s a screen shot. Just type in the “old” book you’re looking for, click “Full View Books” and away you go. I downloaded a 437 page copy of Inferno, in Portugese, just to make sureit worked. It did.
It’ll be interesting to see if any of the classics publishers see a drop in sales (over the next year), if folks will just use this to augment their book reading or how it will be used.