Monday, September 12, 2011


On Friday, Sept.9, an obituary in the New York times noted the passing of Michael Hart. He's the man believed to have created the first eBook when on July 4th 1971, he typed the Declaration of Independence into a computer and informed users that the Declaration could be downloaded. His undertaking became the oldest digital library--known as Project Gutenberg. Hart believed in the sharing of information and his goal was education and information. According to the Times, Hart first typed the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, the King James Bible and "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" into the projects's database.

Most of the 30,000 books in the database are in the public domain except for a few that are reproduced with the permission of the copyright holders.

As a writer I have mixed emotions about free books. I find it an enormous help to research books in the public domain that can verify aspects of history, geography, etc. but the internet is rife with piracy as every writer knows and often a book with copyright is stolen without guilt by readers.

Opinions, anyone?



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1 comment:

  1. I have mixed emotions too, Elise. We seem to be breeding a society that believes books and music should be free for all. Um, why? I can't imagine a plumber fixing my pipes for nothing or a mechanic mending my car just for the fun of it. Writers might write for the love of it, but they do need to eat now and again. :)