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Old 07-29-2009, 12:00 PM   #1
NatCh
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Google Books Tops 1 Million Public Domain Titles

Sony put out a press release this morning announcing that Google Books' PD library has passed 1 million titles -- all of which are compatible with current model Sony Readers.

From the release:
Quote:
The announcement reinforces Sony’s commitment to providing consumers with the largest, most comprehensive selection of eBooks available. These titles, which Google has digitized as part of its Google Books project, are available in EPUB format and are optimized for current models of the Sony Reader Digital Book.

“We are committed to ensuring our customers have the freedom to discover and read content from the widest possible range of sources,” said Chris Smythe, director of the eBook Store from Sony. “We’re proud to offer access to the broadest range of eBooks today – from hot new releases, to New York Times Best Sellers, to classics and hard to find manuscripts such as those available for free from Google.”
I think this is interesting when combined with the Mac support announcement, and the recent ... changes in Reader availability. I'm not sure what it means, but it certainly gets the old speculation-motor chugging, doesn't it?
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Old 07-29-2009, 12:09 PM   #2
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There was a similar announcement on MobileTechReview here:


http://www.mobiletechreview.com/ubbt...p?Number=33812
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Old 07-29-2009, 01:48 PM   #3
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I'd say this should be a hard blow against the 'Sony's getting out of the e-book reader business' rumors.

Time to take off my shoes and run barefoot over *another* half million PD books! Which only raises one further question: ice cream or popcorn?
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Old 07-29-2009, 01:57 PM   #4
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I wish they put as much effort into quality as they do into quantity.

Too many of their books contain portions that are unreadable simply due to inept scanning. Not to mention (correct me if I am wrong) none of the books are actually properly proofread and fixed-up after the OCR... and even the OCR seems to only be used to provide ad-hoc semi-reliable searching of the contents.

Why wouldn't google put their weight behind Distributed Proofreaders or start a similar project for their own stuff?

But then, when I ask questions like these, I remember that Google has delusions of having some sort of copyright over these scanned images, judging by their initial page that implies (but is smart enough not to outright claim) that only non-commercial use is legal.

- Ahi
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Old 07-29-2009, 02:45 PM   #5
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Hm, I ponder, quality or quantity, quality or quantity?

And then I think "One million books!" Gimme, gimme.

Yes, I would like better quality, who wouldn't - but the opportunity to find lots and lots of books that aren't available elsewhere? Hey - I'm over 50, my life's too short now to quibble.

Gotta get reading!
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Old 07-29-2009, 02:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khalleron View Post
Hm, I ponder, quality or quantity, quality or quantity?

And then I think "One million books!" Gimme, gimme.

Yes, I would like better quality, who wouldn't - but the opportunity to find lots and lots of books that aren't available elsewhere? Hey - I'm over 50, my life's too short now to quibble.

Gotta get reading!
There is something to that.

The bizarre thing to me is that they try to prevent commercial use, when in fact commercial use is the most straightforward way of making their poorly scanned image sets into books. (i.e.: A publisher taking it, undertaking better OCR, and paying for proofing, retypesetting, et al. Whether to ultimately reissue as a regular paper book, or as an eBook.)

- Ahi
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Old 07-29-2009, 04:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahi View Post
I wish they put as much effort into quality as they do into quantity.

Too many of their books contain portions that are unreadable simply due to inept scanning.
I'd like to see better quality too

On the bright side though; I was reading one of the PDFs, and a few of the scans were totally messed up - I thought I'd have to give up, but a few pages later the duff ones got rescanned so the problem was rectified.
I don't know how often this happens, but it's worth checking a bit further on if you come across some illegible pages.
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Old 07-29-2009, 04:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparrow View Post
I'd like to see better quality too

On the bright side though; I was reading one of the PDFs, and a few of the scans were totally messed up - I thought I'd have to give up, but a few pages later the duff ones got rescanned so the problem was rectified.
I don't know how often this happens, but it's worth checking a bit further on if you come across some illegible pages.
That has happened to me before too.

Though in my particular example, the fixed version had some other page (that was originally fine) completely unreadable.

Good thing I had saved the earlier PDF, and from the two I was able to put together a single readable document.

- Ahi
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Old 07-29-2009, 11:00 PM   #9
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While we're on this topic, does any one know why some public domain books are available as epub/ereader format books and others are only available as non ocr'd PDFs from the google books site? Lewis Spence's Encyclopedia of Occultism has decent OCR but is not available through either Sony or B and N, for example.
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Old 07-29-2009, 11:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luqmaninbmore View Post
While we're on this topic, does any one know why some public domain books are available as epub/ereader format books and others are only available as non ocr'd PDFs from the google books site? Lewis Spence's Encyclopedia of Occultism has decent OCR but is not available through either Sony or B and N, for example.
Because they haven't gotten to it yet. They've converted a million books to ePub since March.

I don't think they're done - give it some more time.
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Old 07-29-2009, 11:51 PM   #11
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I've read a couple books, quality wasn't to bad
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