Steven Melendez discovered some public domain government documents in Google Books that the service wouldn't let him download because they had been misclassified as copyrighted; he filled in an online form and less than a week later, a human had reviewed the documents, agreed that they had been misclassified and removed all restrictions.
The Authors Guild has been trying to get a court to shut down Google's book-scanning/book-search program for more than a decade.
iRiver's Story HD e-book reader is optimized for Google's eBooks service (with 3m free titles) and will carry the same price tag—$140— as Amazon's Kindle. Casey Johnston writes:
Given that Google Books is one of the most widely accessible e-book platforms–computers, Android and iOS devices as well as Nook and Sony readers can all access the e-book content–we expect the hardware and user experience will have to deliver in order for the reader to make an impact on a market where other brands like the Nook and Kindle already have significant momentum.
Google Books has scans of every issue of Spin, the music magazine Bob Guccione Jr. founded in 1985 with a loan from his father, Bob Guccione Sr., the publisher of Penthouse. It's interesting to see how awfully dated the design of the magazine is. — Read the rest
The Harry Houdini Collection from the Library of Congress is available (at least 30 or 40 full texts of published materials) through Google Books.
Read titles such as The right way to do wrong: an exposé of successful criminals and Ventriloquism explained: and juggler's tricks, or legerdemain exposed: with remarks on vulgar superstitions. — Read the rest
Over at Orange Crate Art, Michael Leddy spotted old print issues of that bastion of great journalism, The Weekly World News, archived on Google Books! I want to believe! Weekly World News on Google Books
Avi Solomon says: "If you search Google Images for "Google books fingers" you get poignant images (to my lights) of scanner worker bee hands. Makes me value the massive, anonymous and underpaid effort that goes into maintaining the 'digital' economy." Here an example. — Read the rest
Google Book Search and the American Library Association have teamed up to offer searchable indices and library links to banned books, in celebration of Banned Books Week (Sept 23-30). Included in the catalog are 1984, Lolita, Lord of the Flies, the Great Gatsby, The Color Purple, Brave New World, Naked Lunch, Invisible Man, Cats Cradle, and many other titles that made me a better person for having read them. — Read the rest
Adam sez, "Google Books has just started offering downloads of their public domain books as PDF files. You can search for 'free view' books to find other ones. (disclaimer: I'm the engineer who did this, but I'm nothing to do with PR)"
The judge in a Federal lawsuit alleging the Internet Archive was illegally creating copies of published works and lending them out for free has ruled for the publishers. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic the Internet Archive made its large trove of books available to anyone online without limits, bypassing a Controlled Digital Lending agreement. — Read the rest
You know how stock image libraries such as Getty Images are in the habit of asking money for public domain works such as old photographs and illustrations? Boing Boing co-founder Cory Doctorow's new hobby is finding the originals, cleaning up the scans, and making them freely available at Wikimedia. — Read the rest
As of January 1, 2021, works published in the U.S. in 1925 are now in the public domain, most notably F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (I checked Gutenberg.org but it's not there yet). Duke's Center for the Study of the Public Domain has a list of other well-known works now free for the taking, adapting, and extending. — Read the rest
On January 1, Public Domain Day, a fantastic trove of great works from 1925 are entering the US public domain, free for all to use, remix, and reimagine, including: F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, Buster Keaton's film Go West, the musical composition "Sweet Georgia Brown" by Ben Bernie, Maceo Pinkard, and Kenneth Casey, and my dad's favorite song "Yes Sir, That's My Baby" by Gus Kahn and Walter Donaldson. — Read the rest
US booksellers and public libraries are reporting strong growth in demand for print books, but research libraries are increasingly serving as archives, rather than references.
Greenbrier Public School in rural Arkansas didn't take too kindly to the national school walkout that took place on Tuesday to protest gun violence in response to last month's deadly Parkland shooting. In fact, when three students decided to go against the grain of their very conservative school and community and walk out, they were met with a tough choice: suspension or corporal punishment. — Read the rest
Psych scholars from San Diego State and U Georgia used Google Books to systematically explore the growth of swear-words in published American literature: they conclude that books are getting swearier and that this is a bellwether for a growth in the value of individualism: "Due to the greater valuation of the rights of the individual self, individualistic cultures favor more self-expression in general (Kim & Sherman, 2007) and allow more expression of personal anger in particular (Safdar et al., — Read the rest
Jennifer Jenkins writes, "What could have been entering the public domain in the US on January 1, 2017? Under the law that existed until 1978 — Works from 1960. The books 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and 'Rabbit, Run' the films 'The Magnificent Seven' and 'The Time Machine' early episodes of 'The Flintstones' the musical 'Camelot' and more — What is actually entering the public domain this January 1? — Read the rest
Michael from Muckrock found a reference to "Untangling the Web," an internal NSA guide to the Internet, on Google Books, so he requisitioned a copy from the NSA under the Freedom of Information Act.