Thursday, February 3, 2011

Top downloads from Project Gutenberg

If you aren't convinced yet that ebooks have their uses, consider this: You can download tons of free ebooks that are in the public domain from Project Gutenberg.  Although I used to download free classics from via Google Books, I started downloading them from Project Gutenberg because the files are in better shape.  The Google Books files aren't formatted very well for epub, so they don't read well on the iPhone's little screen, and there are tons of mistakes where the scanning software misinterpreted the text.  Project Gutenberg does seem to edit the files (or get their volunteers uploading the books to edit them), so I don't see as many errors — AND the ebooks are better formatted for epub.

My favorite way to access the Project Gutenberg ebooks is via Stanza, an iPhone e-reader app that has a direct link to PG.  No transferring the files to my iPhone — I can just upload the ebooks directly.  Very nice.

Anyway, I was having a little fun with Project Gutenberg the other night, checking out the new additions, and spotted the "Top 100" link in the sidebar.  Here's the top 5 for the last 30 days, as of yesterday:

1. The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana by Vatsyayana (34964)
2. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (31274)
3. The Song My Paddle Sings by E. Pauline Johnson (23563)
4. How to Analyze People on Sight by Elsie Lincoln Benedict and Ralph Paine Benedict (23435)
5. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (22953)

It amuses me to no end that the Kama Sutra takes first place. Move over, Mark Twain!

The fourth book is kind of amusing, too, if you can appreciate the humor of a 90-year-old self-help book — you can view the HTML version on your computer here.

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