Google Books – Another Digital Revolution?

I am so thrilled by Google Books – they offer complete books with expired copyright. As far as I am concerned, these old books are more charming anyway. Even better: they offer the original scans of the books (i.e. including all paintings and the original fonts) for free and legal download as PDF and some even as ePub, the appropriate format for the eBook readers of Sony.

Again: They provide the full scans! You will experience the original charm, even though you will probably read them on some screen. I have already figured out some really beautiful ones I shall read in the near future:

  • Edgar Allan Poe: “The poetical works of Edgar Allen Poe” with so wonderful, really, wonderful drawings … enhancing Poe’s gloomy stories in a way that I have never experienced from any concurrent printing
  • Familiar Lecture on Botany”: Also of minor scientific interest (taxonomy has been completely shook up since genetic analysis took over), it is still of great aesthetic value to me. Another nice example: “British Zoology
  • An essay on archery”: I really don’t know where to find such a in-depth monograph on such a topic. If it wasn’t digitized, I wonder when this knowledge would have been lost
  • The Travels and Researches of Baron Humboldt”: Alexander von Humboldt was a great German explorer. He was the first to explore and describe South America (and Venezuela in particular) not from the master-and-slave, but from the human view. The people of Venezuela are still thankful for his work. Here, however, is some of his important work, again, with breathtaking drawings
  • etc.

Apart from the personal joy one might experience when being offered such a huge library, the sheer fact that this knowledge is now available for each and everybody is, to me, another real revolution.

Again: I am thrilled …


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