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Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg was the first provider of free electronic books. Mich Hart, founder of the project, invented eBooks in 1971. Hart figured that the greatest value created by computers would not be computing, but would be the storage, retrieval, and searching of what was stored in the libraries. Their effort to digitalize books has been very successful. They have 49,200 books documented on their site. Many other audiobook companies pull from their written digital library to record them. Companies that do so also offer their content for free. Project Gutenberg’s mission is “to encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks”. 

The Good

  • Some books are free
  • Easy to use website
  • Can record a book

Project Gutenberg gives you the opportunity to listen to books for free. It is your choice to either have a person read the book or to have a computer read the book. They continue to get more and more volunteers to read the books and record them so you can listen for free.

Their website is incredibly easy to use. They have a "Site Map" on the main page that can help direct you to wherever you are wanting to go. There is a book search and a list of categories to help you determine what book to read or listen to.

Project Gutenberg makes it easy if you want to donate some of your time to record a book. There are instructions of how to complete the book and post it if you would like to be part of the project.

Along with audiobooks, they also provide the following content:

  • Bookshelvves
  • CD and DVDs
  • Ebooks
  • Digitalized sheet music
  • Mobile readers
  • Online catalogs

The Bad

  • Complications to the service
  • Slow to fix issues

This site is run by people volunteering their time and talents to keep the project running so you can enjoy the services free of cost. The problem is there are many complications that occur. Some books do not get completely uploaded so you may only get to listen to a partial of a book. There is a place within the website to record the issues you have with the site, but the items that are placed in there do not always get taken care of very quickly so you may only get to hear only part of the novel.

The Bottom Line

There is an extremely wide variety of books to choose from - more than 49,000 choices. The website is easy to use so you can find out where the book is that you want to listen to within seconds. It is free, but it means that volunteers are the ones uploading the books which brings about many errors. It is a free opportunity to listen to your favorite book so you can try it out and see what you think.

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