Free eBooks with Modern Typography & Nice Formatting, All “Carefully Produced for the True Book Lover”

If you look through our col­lec­tion of 800+ Free eBooks, you will find many pub­lic domain texts pre­sent­ed by providers like Project Guten­berg and Pret­ty soon, we’ll have to add texts from Stan­dard eBooks, a vol­un­teer-dri­ven project that dig­i­tizes books while plac­ing an empha­sis on design and typog­ra­phy. Here’s how they describe their mis­sion:

While there are plen­ty of places where you can down­load free and accu­rate­ly-tran­scribed pub­lic domain ebooks, we feel the qual­i­ty of those ebooks can often be great­ly improved.

For exam­ple, Project Guten­berg, a major pro­duc­er of pub­lic-domain ebooks, hosts epub and Kin­dle files that some­times lack basic typo­graph­ic neces­si­ties like curly quotes; some of those ebooks are auto­mat­i­cal­ly gen­er­at­ed and can’t take full advan­tage of mod­ern eread­er tech­nol­o­gy like pop­up foot­notes or pop­up tables of con­tents; they some­times lack niceties like cov­er images and title pages; and the qual­i­ty of indi­vid­ual ebook pro­duc­tions varies great­ly.

Archival sites like the Inter­net Archive (and even Project Guten­berg, to some extent) painstak­ing­ly pre­serve entire texts word-for-word, includ­ing orig­i­nal typos and ephemera that are of lim­it­ed inter­est to mod­ern read­ers: every­thing includ­ing cen­turies-old pub­lish­ing marks, adver­tise­ments for long-van­ished pub­lish­ers, author bios, deeply archa­ic spellings, and so on. Some­times all you get is a scan of the actu­al book pages. That’s great for researchers, archivists, and spe­cial-inter­est read­ers, but not that great for casu­al, mod­ern read­ers.

The Stan­dard Ebooks project dif­fers from those etext projects in that we aim to make free pub­lic domain ebooks that are care­ful­ly type­set, cleaned of ancient and irrel­e­vant ephemera, take full advan­tage of mod­ern eread­ing tech­nol­o­gy, are for­mat­ted accord­ing to a detailed style guide, and that are each held to a stan­dard of qual­i­ty and inter­nal con­sis­ten­cy. Stan­dard Ebooks include care­ful­ly cho­sen cov­er art based on pub­lic domain art­work, and are pre­sent­ed in an attrac­tive way on your ebook­shelf. For tech­ni­cal­ly-inclined read­ers, Stan­dard Ebooks con­form to a rig­or­ous cod­ing style, are com­plete­ly open source, and are host­ed on Github, so any­one can con­tribute cor­rec­tions or improve­ments eas­i­ly and direct­ly with­out hav­ing to deal with baroque forums or opaque process­es.

All of the ebooks in the Stan­dard eBooks col­lec­tion “are thought to be in the pub­lic domain in the Unit­ed States.” You can cur­rent­ly down­load 103 texts–for exam­ple titles like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prej­u­dice, Mary Shel­ley’s Franken­stein, short fic­tion by Philip K. Dick, and Niet­zsche’s Beyond Good and Evil. (See the full col­lec­tion here.) They offer ver­sions spe­cial­ly designed for the Kin­dle and Kobo, but also the more uni­ver­sal epub for­mat. If you’d like to pitch in and help Stan­dard eBooks dig­i­tize more aes­thet­i­cal­ly-pleas­ing books, get more infor­ma­tion here.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

via Metafil­ter

Relat­ed Con­tent:

800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kin­dle & Oth­er Devices 1,000 Free Audio Books: Down­load Great Books for Free

135 Free Phi­los­o­phy eBooks

Down­load 243 Free eBooks on Design, Data, Soft­ware, Web Devel­op­ment & Busi­ness from O’Reilly Media

Down­load 464 Free Art Books from The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art

Read 700 Free eBooks Made Avail­able by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia Press

by | Permalink | Comments (1) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (1)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.