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Old 03-19-2009, 11:48 AM   #61
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This is really awesome for me. I've been doing a lot of reading on Google Books and this will make it so much more convenient. I was hoping something like this would come along.

I wish the publishers hadn't clamped down on Google Books so much. There is plenty of content which should be available that is limited to snippet or partial view, for no good reason under copyright law that I can see.

Anyway, this initiative is probably the reason I needed to upgrade my PRS-500 to something newer that supports ePub.

Idea for an even bigger improvement: integrate my Google account somehow so I can easily download all the Google books I saved in my library.
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:17 PM   #62
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I'm thrilled just from the fact that Sony is clearly being active in looking for partners to provide content, when there had been previous speculation that they might drop the reader line entirely. The more players we get into the game the more we all benefit regardless of our favorite device.
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:22 PM   #63
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Great news. And is it just me, or does the whole ebook and e-reading world seem to be accelerating at a rapid pace in recent months? Every day there seems to be news, and a lot of it quite good (apart from Amazon).
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:37 PM   #64
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I think it's a great step forward.

It's not perfection - but it's a good beginning.
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:38 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daffy4u View Post
That *will* be a big deal if Google gets into books which are not in the public domain (as I pretty much said in my post). I just don't believe PD books are a big draw for the average reader. I have no evidence to back this, just my feeling (opinion).
I think it is a big deal or otherwise why would PG even bother proofing their books. I think, as this rolls out, the lack of proofing with become more evident for Google stuff. It impacts one of the major supposed uses of research. A search won't find something if it isn't spelled correctly.

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Old 03-19-2009, 12:42 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexxxm View Post

It's a real pleasure to find some gems like "A Selection of Curious Articles from the Gentleman's Magazine" (1811).
It really seems to me that Sony and Amazon are not battling for the same ground, the Reader and the Kindle are becoming two devices used very differently. Mainly DRM and contemporary works on one side, mainly open content and a treasure of public domain works on the other.

I found it also beautiful to have the digital text preceded by some scanned pages showing the graphics of the cover and the library stamps, it gives you some flavour of the book paper if you will...


alessandro
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Blue View Post
I was very excited when I first read the OP. I immediately downloaded a book published in 1813 that I’ve wanted for years. Although I found many mistakes due to the rendering of the OCR software, I nonetheless was thrilled that I had a copy to read on my Reader. Until now I could only read it on my computer screen because of Google Book’s previous PDF format (which was actually individual jpg pages that wouldn’t render on the Reader.) Acquiring a hard copy was not even an option. This is an obscure book of memoirs of one of my ancestors, therefore would never become a mainstream electronic book of interest to the masses. There are many other obscure books of this nature which would never be considered classics in the accepted sense, yet are precious reads to me, poor formatting, warts and all. I, for one, happily accept these offerings as they currently exist, while at the same time hope that these books will be cleaned up and more readily readable in the near future.
Exactly! This gives us the edges of the book world.

Previous:
- many modern copyrighted ebooks: buy, or borrow from your library.
- the most popular Public Domain (PD) ebooks (i.e., the Classics): Mobileread and Project Gutenberg.

Now, add:
- all the rest of the PD world.

And the fact that additions are ongoing, and corrections are accepted and ongoing (meanwhile, check the PDF for indecipherable paragraphs), makes this something great, no?

What's not to like? We're now given more ebook reading choices, the obscure, hard-to-find treasures. A couple of years ago, getting digitized copies of these would have been thought to be the unconquerable portion of the book universe. Instead, the miracle of Google has brought them to us. And people are complaining? What am I missing?
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:50 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moejoe View Post
Great news. And is it just me, or does the whole ebook and e-reading world seem to be accelerating at a rapid pace in recent months? Every day there seems to be news, and a lot of it quite good (apart from Amazon).
It's not just you. Improved screens are driving a hardware resurgence, while publisher's fears and Amazon's activity are causing a bandwagon effect. (And whatever you feel about Amazon, they are a major driver of publishing activity thanks to their sizable influence right now.) Combined with a shaky economy and failing ecology forcing people to rethink how they do things, and the web providing people with new commerce avenues, and you have a "perfect storm" of influences that are accelerating e-book adoption.

I am not averse to entities providing the texts... just providing them in an "unfinished" manner, and simply expecting that someone else (like MR members and others) will pick up the slack and clean up everything. For one thing, it's lazy and presumptuous. For another, it is potentially placing such editing work in the hands of amateurs and vandals, with no direct way of confirming that said edits are done properly, and the potential for numerous "bad" versions of a text to be flying around out there even after edits are fixed. This is bad for the integrity of the work, and IMO a very negative aspect of this effort.

Though I am not one to invoke "Orwellian" concerns whenever something changes that I do not like, I think there's a legitimate reason to be concerned about the potential for numerous different versions of our document heritage to be floating about unvetted, leading to misinformation on a large scale, intended or not. Someone responsible (and impartial) should be in charge of cleaning these texts, and someone responsible (and impartial) should be supervising that effort diligently, for me to be satisfied.
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:50 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaleDe View Post
I think it is a big deal or otherwise why would PG even bother proofing their books. I think, as this rolls out, the lack of proofing with become more evident for Google stuff. It impacts one of the major supposed uses of research. A search won't find something if it isn't spelled correctly.
Yep.


Here's an example from one of the books I downloaded (note: the whole book isn't as bad as this).

from the epub...
Quote:
THE FIRST FABLE.

Uiearto, l&ing of iCfjebes, fjat i four tiaiigljters, one of inborn, habing become a inanberer auti altered fjcr name of Costanja to Costanjo, artibet i at tfjc eourt of Caceo, 3£ing of Bctti= nia, tnfjo took fjcr to toi'fe on aeeount of the mang toortfjo ticeos torougljt bg |jcr.

from the PDF...
Quote:
THE FIRST FABLE

Ricardo, King of Thebes, had four daughters, one of whom, having become a wanderer and altered her name of Constanza to Constanzo, arrived at the court of Cacco, King of Bettinia, who took her to wife on account of the many worthy deeds wrought by her.

If I was going to fix this book up anyway it'd be great if there was a way to submit it to get the Google books epub fixed too.
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:51 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by pilotbob View Post
That is a good question. They should have a way for users to submit corrections back into the library. Make it like a giant ebook wiki. "Wikibiblioa" ??

BOb
there is already such a wiki called http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/. The English version have more than 100,000 eBooks and growing. There are multiple languages available.

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Old 03-19-2009, 12:57 PM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
It's not just you. Improved screens are driving a hardware resurgence, while publisher's fears and Amazon's activity are causing a bandwagon effect. (And whatever you feel about Amazon, they are a major driver of publishing activity thanks to their sizable influence right now.) Combined with a shaky economy and failing ecology forcing people to rethink how they do things, and the web providing people with new commerce avenues, and you have a "perfect storm" of influences that are accelerating e-book adoption.

I am not averse to entities providing the texts... just providing them in an "unfinished" manner, and simply expecting that someone else (like MR members and others) will pick up the slack and clean up everything. For one thing, it's lazy and presumptuous. For another, it is potentially placing such editing work in the hands of amateurs and vandals, with no direct way of confirming that said edits are done properly, and the potential for numerous "bad" versions of a text to be flying around out there even after edits are fixed. This is bad for the integrity of the work, and IMO a very negative aspect of this effort.

Though I am not one to invoke "Orwellian" concerns whenever something changes that I do not like, I think there's a legitimate reason to be concerned about the potential for numerous different versions of our document heritage to be floating about unvetted, leading to misinformation on a large scale, intended or not. Someone responsible (and impartial) should be in charge of cleaning these texts, and someone responsible (and impartial) should be supervising that effort diligently, for me to be satisfied.
I think it would be quite interesting to see some 'fan-edits' or even 'vandal-edits' of other people's work. I can only imagine what an irate King fan wold do to the Dark Tower series, or a bored literature student might do with War and Peace. Actually, the more I think of it, the more fun it would be
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:58 PM   #71
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Well, I sampled the Google library by downloading a couple of books (Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle and Mommsen's History of Rome) via the Sony e-library software. I imported them into calibre, converted them to .mobi, and transferred them to my Kindle.

The results were really disappointing. The Darwin was marginal in its OCR but the Mommsen was completely unusable because of the multitude of OCR errors. I wound up deleting the books both from the Kindle and even from my calibre library. Maybe when Kovid gets an e-book editor implemented into calibre, we'll be able to fix up such OCR errors if their numbers aren't too overwhelming.
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Old 03-19-2009, 01:00 PM   #72
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Wikisource are very useful. I've donated a couple of books to them.
And, for those in the Canadian public domain, Wikilivres is a good resource.
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Old 03-19-2009, 01:14 PM   #73
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Wikisource are very useful. I've donated a couple of books to them.
And, for those in the Canadian public domain, Wikilivres is a good resource.
For educational eBooks http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/ wiki books is good as well. They have sections devoted to children's books and even cookbooks.
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Old 03-19-2009, 01:19 PM   #74
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Old 03-19-2009, 01:56 PM   #75
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Well, this is so typical...

I close my eyes forr 5 minutes and something big like this happens...
How very convenient that I just bought a Sony PRS-505 a few days ago and put my hopes on ePub instead of .mobi.
Of course this is just PD stuff, but it Sony has managed to make an ally out of Google, then I guess this won#t be the last step...
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