by Frederic Lardinois<http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/author/frederic-lardinois-1.php>
August 26, 2009 12:01 PM / 1
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[image: google_books_logo_aug09.png]Google just
it will now allow users to download over 1 million public domain books in
the EPUB format. Google had already made this archive available to some of
its partners, including Sony
Barnes and Noble, but until today users weren't able to download these free
EPUB texts from Google directly. Google will continue to make PDF versions
of these books available for download as well, but users with eReader's will
find the new EPUB files far more useful.
If you don't have an actual hardware eReader but still want to read these
EPUB versions, you can install Stanza <http://www.lexcycle.com/stanza> or a
similar desktop reader <http://www.jedisaber.com/ebooks/Readers.asp> to read
EPUB: The One eBook Standard to Rule them All
EPUB is a free, standardized format that almost every hardware eReader or
desktop software understands. Amazon's Kindle, however, cannot read EPUB
texts without using some intermediary software that converts these books
into a format the Kindle can understand. While there are a few competing
formats, EPUB has turned into the de facto standard for eBooks. Some
vendors, like Sony, wrap a digital rights management (DRM) solution around
these books, but others just publish completely open, non-DRMed versions of
their books. The EPUB files from Google Books will not be locked down by a
It is important to note, however, that these EPUB files were run through an
optical character recognition (OCR) system and weren't edited afterwards.
While this software has greatly improved over the last few years, there are
still quite a few mistakes in most books. This post
the Google Books blog explains the conversion process in more detail. The
PDF versions of these books don't suffer from this problem, as they are just
copies of the actual pages. This also means, however, that these PDF files
are far larger and that users can't, for example, adjust the size of the
books' fonts according to the size of their screens.
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