If you need to read a book for fun or research that is old enough to be in the common domain then your first stop should be Project Gutenberg, not the library or bookstore. Here you will find electronic additions of 20,000 books available for free download and links to other sites with a total of approximately 3,000,000 books available and you never have to worry if it's been checked out or is out of print.
Save a tree, read an e-book!
Plus you can search an e-book much more easily than you can a paper one. You can read the books on your computer or laptop using Word or Open Office or you can transfer most of their titles easily to your PDA (if it supports text files) or specialized e-book reader (such as the Kindle). I regularly download titles to my Palm Zaire.
Books are available in over 40 languages and there are even some audio books for your IPod. You can search by author, subject, or title.
To give you a sense of the variety here are the top 25 downloads for yesterday:
- The Outline of Science, Vol. 1 (of 4) by J. Arthur Thomson (1417)
- Manual of Surgery Volume First: General Surgery. Sixth Edition. by Miles and Thomson (918)
- Manners, Custom and Dress During the Middle Ages and During the Renaissance Period by Paul Lacroix (837)
- The Art of War by Sun Tzu (729)
- Searchlights on Health by B. G. Jefferis and J. L. Nichols (565)
- History of the United States by Charles A. Beard and Mary Ritter Beard (560)
- Our Day by William Ambrose Spicer (523)
- Illustrated History of Furniture by Frederick Litchfield (478)
- Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great - Volume 01 by Elbert Hubbard (452)
- The People's Common Sense Medical Adviser in Plain English by Ray Vaughn Pierce (423)
- Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great - Volume 03 by Elbert Hubbard (367)
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (365)
- A Text-Book of the History of Painting by John Charles Van Dyke (364)
- Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome by E.M. Berens (355)
- The Practice and Science of Drawing by Harold Speed (323)
- The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India—Volume I (of IV) by Robert Vane Russell (312)
- Across Unknown South America by A. Henry Savage Landor (303)
- The Mafulu by Robert Wood Williamson (264)
- Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, Complete by Various (263)
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (256)
- Amusements in Mathematics by Henry Ernest Dudeney (256)
- The Marvelous Land Of Oz by L. Frank Baum (252)
- General Science by Bertha M. Clark (240)
- Custom and Myth by Andrew Lang (237)
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (236)