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Milestone: Project Gutenberg Releases eBook #50,000

coverProject Gutenberg announced on Saturday that the 40-year-old program had digitized its fifty thousandth work.

Chosen in honor of Project Gutenberg founder Michael Hart, the milestone title was John Gutenberg, First Master Printer, His Acts, and most remarkable Discourses, and his Death. It’s now available for download from the PG website in Kindle, Epub, and other formats.

Gutenberg is credited with revolutionizing book production with his printing press. Like Gutenberg, Micheal Hart was a pioneer in digital book production when he started Project Gutenberg in 1971. Even though it has long since been dwarfed by larger efforts, Hart’s Project Gutenberg was the forerunner to the digital publishing industry we have today.

With Google having digitized millions of books and even "small" projects like HathiTrust hosting 13.7 million titles, Project Gutenberg’s milestone is relatively small potatoes. But this is still the grandaddy of all book digitization projects, and continues to digitize books to this day.


image by clagnut

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neuse river sailor October 5, 2015 um 2:20 pm

Google and HathiTrust have the big numbers, but 90% of them are not available to download. Google will let you see a few pages, Hathi will let you see more if you are the right kind of person – i.e. an academic associated with a university. So it is kind of like looking for a needle in a haystack to search either one of them. Whereas 100% of Gutenberg’s books are downloadable.

dc October 5, 2015 um 2:39 pm

What a great service. I’m going to send them a thank you email and maybe a donation or something right now.

Long time lurker, first time commenter btw, Nate. Thanks for the blog, it’s always a good read.

Greg Weeks October 5, 2015 um 2:55 pm

Hathi and google have scans and raw OCR. Gutenberg has text that can be searched and used on smaller devices.

SAD October 5, 2015 um 3:18 pm

Also, a lot of public domain books you can download from various retailers are actually prepared off of Project Gutenberg files. You can usually see a note to that effect in the book.

Sturmund Drang October 5, 2015 um 7:56 pm

Nate, I’m afraid I agree with some of the commentators. Your post doesn’t do Michael Hart or Gutenberg justice. For the common man Google is nearly worthless and HathiTrust is a major frustration. Some day the works Google has copied and the archive at HathiTrust might be available to us unwashed masses. Today if it wasn’t for I’d still be reading paper. I only wish Gutenberg got 1% of all the money their work has brought in at Amazon, and BN and all the other "various retailers" SAD mentioned. Sad indeed. Michael Hart and Gutenberg has given to the public, while all the other players take.

This is the most critical post I’ve ever penned on your site, Nate. But I’m passionate about this. Thanks for giving me a say.

Nate Hoffelder October 5, 2015 um 8:19 pm

Well, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with y’all. I’ve always found Google Books to be a hell of a lot more useful of a resource because it was so much bigger and had so many older non-fiction books.

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