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back to article Apple's iPad to launch with 30,000-volume free library

Apple's e-book reader application, iBooks, may be more widely available than anticipated, thanks to the inclusion of more than 30,000 free e-books from Project Gutenberg. Not longer after the iPad's January introduction, it emerged that iBooks might not feature on versions of the tablet sold outside the US because of licensing …

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Erm

That's a bit like saying that Dell's new netbook will launch with a 30,000-volume free library. Or that the iPhone launched with a 30,000-volume free library. Or that my desktop PC launched with ... you get the idea.

The iPad my well be spangly and shiny and worthy of interest, but the fact that it is capable of accessing Project Gutenberg works is absolutely nothing to do with Apple or the iPad.

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DRM-free

Gutenberg's library is a very important offering for Apple: since the iPad won't be able to read Adobe DRM-encrypted ePubs, the format that 99% of the ebook publishers insist on using, you'll be restricted to Gutenberg's DRM-free ePubs and Apple's ebooks.

If you've ever bought any ePubs, you won't be able to access them on the iPad. For me, that's a big deal...

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Happy

iPad reads Adobe DRM ePubs just fine!

The iPad can read any DRM ePUB. It reads any DRM eBook. All you have to do is download the reader app that will read the book.

For Adobe DRM ePUbs, all you have to do is to download the FREE Stanza App (owned by Amazon).

For Kindle DRM books, download the Kindle App.

For Barnes and Noble ePub books (which uses the Adobe DRM), download the Barnes and Noble app.

For Sony ePubs (which uses the Adobe DRM), download the Stanza App.

For Apple Fairplay DRM ePubs, download the iBook App.

As the Apple ad goes, "There's an app for that!"

The iPad allows unprecedented freedom for readers. You don't have to worry about DRM any longer since the iPad can read ALL OF THEM.

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Silver badge

Down to DRM

"You don't have to worry about DRM any longer"

Are you kidding? One application for each type of DRM?

I pick my apps for the features they offer, not on what DRM they support.

This is a huge thumbs up for illegal the P2P market, you can pretty much use your reader of choice and be done with it.

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FAIL

Typesetting of Project Gutenberg titles

Hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, but has anybody tried reading Project Gutenberg titles in epub format, and actually SEEN the lousy (actually, nonexistent) formatting? It is a joke.

This will go down like a lead balloon. Epic fail predicted.

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What eBook reader doesn't?

The 30,000 free e-books from Project Gutenberg are free to any eBook reader surely. Most are available just .txt files..

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Lies, damned lies and international copyright law.

"Not longer after the iPad's January introduction, it emerged that iBooks might not feature on versions of the tablet sold outside the US because of licensing limitations imposed on works still protected by copyright law.

Such restrictions - who is allowed to publish what, and where - don't apply to public domain, out-of-copyright works of the kind digitised and made available by Project Gutenberg."

While this is technically correct, it is more than slightly misleading because it glosses over the simple fact that many of the works made available by Project Gutenberg are still protected by copyright law in many countries.

This is more than a mere technicality -- some companies may shortly find out that it is a rather expensive oversight.

I recently bought an particular model of ereader from a high street bookshop, and it has several eBooks preloaded. One of these was a Beatrix Potter book. Potter died in 43, so by my reckoning that means that her writing is protected in the UK until 2013. The copyright has expired in the US, and Gutenberg states the following:

"Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook."

It would appear that the importer of the device failed to carry out due diligence and could get a bit of a nasty surprise when the Potter estate catch onto this.

I'm sure this isn't the only time such things have happened, and the Apple store is a much more visible target than a white-label far eastern device.

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Big Brother

1984 and all that

Even more interesting/amusing; after the Kindle/'1984' fiasco, I found out that '1984' is out of copyright in Australia. So I went to Gutenberg's Australian server, downloaded a copy from there and read it on my Sony PRs-505. Go for the .txt file every time and format it up as you like using Calibre (it's free).

Apparently, my actions in doing this are 'illegal'; or am I 'only' liable to a civil action by the UK copyright holders? It's all very confusing.

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Happy

The iPad can read ANY DRM eBook. It reads all of them.

The iPad can read any DRM ePUB. It reads any DRM eBook. All you have to do is download the reader app that will read the book.

For Adobe DRM ePUbs, all you have to do is to download the FREE Stanza App (owned by Amazon).

For Kindle DRM books, download the Kindle App.

For Barnes and Noble ePub books (which uses the Adobe DRM), download the Barnes and Noble app.

For Sony ePubs (which uses the Adobe DRM), download the Stanza App.

For Apple Fairplay DRM ePubs, download the iBook App.

As the Apple ad goes, "There's an app for that!"

The iPad allows unprecedented freedom for readers. You don't have to worry about DRM any longer since the iPad can read ALL OF THEM.

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Bronze badge

@ Indomitable Gall, that is what I was about to point out.

They'll have to use Google.Books instead :-)

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Unhappy

Waste of time

Has anyone looked at Gutenbergs library?

Most items are badly formatted and very hard to read as they've used dodgy OCR and had very little in the way of human based correction.

Nice idea. but unless these are hand crafted for the iPad, they'll be an awful example of reading using the iPad.

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Bronze badge

Corrections to Gutenberg

If you find errors in a Project Gutenberg text, let them know. They'll be politely grateful. And then it's fixed for everyone else.

As for text formatting, you MUST have software that is able to deal with that. How hard is it going to be?

U.S. or British spelling is a different matter, but you could probably do something.

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