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Standard eBooks Pick Up Where Project Gutenberg Leaves Off

eBook formatting is important.

One of the reasons Feedbooks tops my list of free ebook sites is that the ebooks there are formatted to a higher standard than you can expect from even major publishers. The ebooks are just easier on the eyes, and all other things being equal, great formatting can be the deciding factor in sourcing free ebooks.

That is why I was thrilled to learn about the Standard eBooks project.

Standard Ebooks is a volunteer-driven project that is picking up where Project Gutenberg, HathiTrust, and the Internet Archive left off.

Those projects rescued works from analog obscurity and released them in digital form, while Standard eBooks is out to take that public domain content and release it in a form that is pleasant to use.

From the blurb:

The Standard Ebooks project is a volunteer driven, not-for-profit effort to produce a collection of high quality, carefully formatted, accessible, open source, and free public domain ebooks that meet or exceed the quality of commercially produced ebooks. The text and cover art in our ebooks is already believed to be in the public domain, and Standard Ebook dedicates its own work to the public domain, thus releasing whole ebooks files themselves into the public domain.

I wonder how hard it would be to get them to add Creative Commons-licensed ebooks to their catalog?

I have been wanting a set of Cory Doctorow ebooks for a while now. Most copies of his ebooks are atrociously formatted, but I have not had time to do the work myself. This might be a good place to organize a collaboration and get it done.

In any case, if you want to contribute to Standard eBooks, you can join the mailing list, submit ebooks (after reading the style guide), or just download the ebooks, read them, and report errors.

Standard eBooks via Daring Fireball

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Jan Tzinski June 20, 2017 um 1:13 pm

Thanks for the information! Just as a test, I put into the experimental browser on my kindle paperwhite. The website came up fine. I selected Space Viking by H Beam Piper and clicked to download on azw. Comes up perfectly on my homescreen. Looks fine, great formatting! Another option for my Paperwhite 🙂

gbm June 20, 2017 um 7:06 pm

Don’t bother, it is nothing more than a PG epub with even more screwed up css with text indent and no large space between paragraphs. It slows down my pc opening the epub so it really must slow down a nook.

You would be better off downloading the PG html file and doing a conversion with calibre. Or downloading the PG epub then doing a epub to epub conversion then spending 5 minutes editing the css.

Nate Hoffelder June 20, 2017 um 8:28 pm

I downloaded an H Beam Piper novel. It was well-formatted.

Jan June 20, 2017 um 8:57 pm

After I posted my comment, I got to wondering about Serial Reader. I really love that app, but don’t like reading on backlit screens. If Project Gutenberg and Standard eBooks can download books onto my kindle paperwhite from their respective websites using the kindle experimental browser, wouldn’t it be possible for Serial Reader to do the same thing? I can pull their website up okay on my kindle, but it’s just informational, you have to go to the app to get books. I sent an email to the developer and am eager to hear if that might be a possibility for the future.

Chris June 21, 2017 um 12:46 pm

I think the way they “lightly modernize” the books is too much. Fix the presentation and typos, but leave the content alone.

gbm June 21, 2017 um 5:30 pm

I downloaded Space Viking.

The only thing I like about Standand is They meet the requirements.

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