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Read a Book Online

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Published March 14th 2011

While there's nothing quite like the feel and smell of an actual book, readers can still enjoy the convenience and environmental implications of e-books. For free e-books, check out these websites.

Project Gutenberg is an online, volunteer run project to archive public domain books, i.e. texts that are not covered by intellectual property rights. The project is the largest of its type and was named after Johannes Gutenberg, the fifteenth century German printer who popularised the printing press. Project Gutenberg hosts thousands of texts and audio books from around the world, while Project Gutenberg Australia focuses on Australian writers and books. Texts can be read online or downloaded to a computer or e-reading device.

Google Books also provides a limited selection of public domain books, mainly those that are out of print or no longer commercially available. Due to the differences in copyright law around the world, Google does not provide the full text for many works, but is a good source for text books and other study materials.

Some public domain books worth reading include:

Grimms Fairy Tales, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Originally published as 'cautionary tales for children', this anthology is the original version of many of your favourite fairy tales, but these tales share little in common with the Disney version.

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott. Read about the adventures of the March women beautiful Meg, boisterous Jo, shy Beth and superficial Amy, and their loving mother.

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley. This classic horror story is famous, but how many people have actually read it? The novel explores the practical and ethical repercussions when scientist Victor Frankenstein creates new life.
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Why? For instant reading material and out of print titles
When: Any time
Where: Online
Cost: Free
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