Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg

Encouraging the Distribution and Reading of eBooks

Project Gutenberg is an online library of free eBooks. It is the first provider of free electronic books, or eBooks. Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg, invented eBooks in 1971 and his memory continues to inspire the creation of eBooks and related content today.​ It has kept up with the times, offering e-reader friendly formats and features to help get free literature to as many people as possible - whether you are using a computer, a tablet, an e-reader, a mobile phone, or even if you are printing the eBooks on paper.

Everyone should have free, unlimited access to the world’s literature. Whenever you want, with a variety of formatting and delivery choices. “Literature,” said Hart, “should be as free as the air we breathe.” On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Michael Hart’s invention, Project Gutenberg remains vibrant and relevant. The efforts of thousands of volunteers have created a library of literature, reference and more, with over 60 languages and dialects.

50 Years of eBooks: 1971-2021

For the two decades from 1971-1991, Hart evangelized the idea of eBooks, and worked on the first 100 or so titles. These included historical documents - famously starting with the US Declaration of Independence. Also reference works, literary works, a few donated contemporary works, mathematical constants, and more. Subsequent years saw issuance of short videos and longer movies, graphical collections, sheet music, audio files, and eBooks in dozens of languages and formats. By the turn of the new millennium, Project Gutenberg was producing thousands of new eBooks per year. Distributed Proofreaders was launched, and became the biggest single source of new eBooks - harnessing the combined energies of volunteers. In 2021, Project Gutenberg celebrates 50 years of eBooks, and of continuously improving methods for creating and distributing them. The enduring gift of literary works to the people of the world is the outcome of the spirit of innovation and devotion to the common good.

Anyone Can Help Make New eBooks

Project Gutenberg was built by volunteers, and all new eBooks are the result of volunteer effort. The best way to help is to join Distributed Proofreaders. DP includes supportive forums for discussion, an online tutorial, and a variety of roles to suit different skills and interests. DP produces eBooks in many different languages.

Enjoy these eBooks. Share them. Celebrate. Check out the Gutenberg bookshelf by your category of interest. 

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