I have been catching up on the webcomic Namesake recently, and its adventures in the literary Oz got me hankering to read the source material myself, beyond the first book which I have read a couple of times. So right now I am reading the second book in the series, The Marvelous Land of Oz, and I am also reading A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, in anticipation of the upcoming John Carter movie (in theaters March 9th). (Bonus connection: they both have green people in them.) Why do I mention all this to you, O Reader?
Because I was able to go to Project Gutenberg and download both books for free, since their copyright has expired. And may I just ask, “How awesome is that?” I read a lot and spend a lot of money on books, always have, always will. So being able to go to this virtual library and pick out free copies of some classic books is a nice treat and it helps stretch my book-buying dollars.
The sheer number of books available on Project Gutenberg can be overwhelming, so the Bookshelf Page is a quick way to find a book you might be interested in, if you are heading to the site without a specific book in mind. Scroll down to the “Pages in category “Bookshelf” header and you will find all sorts of great virtual bookshelves to explore, including Science Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure, Horror, Mystery, etc.
You will find works by Edgar Allan Poe, Alexander Dumas, Jules Verne, the aforementioned L. Frank Baum and Edgar Rice Burroughs, Cory Doctorow (not a case of copyright expiration; he releases all of his books as free downloads), Arthur Conan Doyle, some Andre Norton, H.G. Wells, and more. (I only scanned the authors for ones I am familiar with/interested in; I am sure others will find even more gems here.)
The editions I have downloaded so far have all looked good, and most books have multiple formats you can download. You can always use Calibre to convert files to the format of your choice if your desired format is not already available.
This is a great resource for book lovers and e-book enthusiasts. If you haven’t already, go lose yourself in the virtual shelves of this great library. (And for that matter, check your local library to see if they have e-book lending, another great free resource!)