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Old 10-22-2009, 11:07 AM   #1
Daithi
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HP now scanning half a million books -- selling thru Amazon

According to an article on Yahoo News, HP has partnered with the University of Michigan to scan their collection of over half a million out of copyright books, and will be making these books available for purchase as Print-On-Demand books through Amazon.

The article doesn't mention if digital versions of these books will also be made available (but I'd be surprised if they weren't). The article also quotes HP saying, "collaborating with the university to eliminate barriers and increase access to content as part of an ongoing effort to make the concept of 'out of print' a thing of the past."

"Out of Print" and "Public Domain" are two different things, so it sounds to me like HP may also be copying books that are still copyrighted but long out of print. It would be nice to see Congress modify the copyright laws to allow these kinds of books back into the public sphere (while still compensating the original authors or their estate).
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Old 10-22-2009, 11:37 AM   #2
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A related discussion:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=59987
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Old 10-22-2009, 11:42 AM   #3
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This is good news.

However, many of these works will already be available at The Internet Archive:
http://www.archive.org/details/texts

which is a useful place to find PDFs of public domain books.
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Old 10-22-2009, 12:01 PM   #4
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Multiple source of text (i.e. competition) is a good thing. The more the merrier...
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Old 10-22-2009, 01:28 PM   #5
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Multiple source of text (i.e. competition) is a good thing. The more the merrier...
Oh, you are quite right, RSE.
I only meant to point out that at least some of the stuff is already freely available. But I'm all in favour of making books more widely accessible.
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Old 10-22-2009, 02:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricia View Post
This is good news.

However, many of these works will already be available at The Internet Archive:
http://www.archive.org/details/texts

which is a useful place to find PDFs of public domain books.

I actually ran into that by accident yesterday in trying to find some of Faulkners works and was horribly disappointed by the (conversion) errors in the files. So much so that I simply deleted them.
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Old 10-22-2009, 02:46 PM   #7
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I've used the Internet Archive to grab several PDFs. Great Site.

Even if we get a lot of duplicated material, I agree with Patricia -- this is good news. And with RSE -- the more the merrier!
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Old 10-22-2009, 03:14 PM   #8
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I'm skeptical that the quality will be tolerable. Stuff that is simply scanned and never looked at by a human is pretty poor.
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Old 10-22-2009, 04:22 PM   #9
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I'm skeptical that the quality will be tolerable. Stuff that is simply scanned and never looked at by a human is pretty poor.
Yes, see my post above and/or try downloading and reading a few of the epubs.
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Old 10-22-2009, 04:32 PM   #10
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The PDFs are mostly quite adequate. But I agree that the automatically-generated text files and EPubs are awful. It depends on your needs. If a PDF will work for you, then it's good news. If you need another format then prepare to do an extensive proofing.

I usually have a couple of books needing proofing on the go. Whenever I feel the urge, I do a few pages.
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Old 10-22-2009, 04:46 PM   #11
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I agree that without a lot human proofreading scanned/photographed books make lousy ePub documents. However they make very good PDF documents that provide a starting point and a source if you wanted to create your own ePub version.

I downloaded all of Charles Dickens works with the original illustrations. There are also a ton of other illustrated books on Internet Archive and some are absolutely beautiful. If you have a large screen reader like a Kindle DX the site is well worth your while. If you want to produce your own ePub version (and don't mind a lot of work) the site is worth your while as well.
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Old 10-22-2009, 04:51 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by kennyc View Post
I actually ran into that by accident yesterday in trying to find some of Faulkners works and was horribly disappointed by the (conversion) errors in the files. So much so that I simply deleted them.
The Internet Archive is a valuable source for stuff that Gutenberg doesn't have.

Although the text files are pretty dire, as Patricia says - and certainly not readable as presented - it can be quite satisfying (and not as arduous as it initially appears) to turn the mess into a legible text.
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Old 10-22-2009, 05:05 PM   #13
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The Internet Archive is a valuable source for stuff that Gutenberg doesn't have.

Although the text files are pretty dire, as Patricia says - and certainly not readable as presented - it can be quite satisfying (and not as arduous as it initially appears) to turn the mess into a legible text.

No quibble with that. I've been wishing for an ebook version of The Sound and the Fury......maybe I should just get with it, eh?
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