Today is the first page in a new chapter of our mission to improve access to the cultural and educational treasures we know as books. Google eBooks will be available in the U.S. from a new Google eBookstore. You can browse and search through the largest ebooks collection in the world with more than three million titles including hundreds of thousands for sale. Find the latest bestsellers like James Patterson’s Cross Fire and Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, dig into popular reads like Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken and catch up on the classics like Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities and Gulliver’s Travels.
Google's promo video:
But let's take a peek at what always interests us most whenever a major new online content product is released:
What, exactly, can you get for free?
Quite a bit, it turns out, most of it available on other e-book sites, but always worth re-noting. Check out the Best of the Free sub-section on the Google eBooks site and start downloading every book you ever thought about buying the Cliff Notes for but now figure what the hay...it's free. A selection:
- Great Expectations (Charles Dickens)
- Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
- Moby Dick (Herman Melville)
- Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (James Joyce)
- The War of the Worlds (HG Wells)
- Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy)
- Gullivers Travels (Jonathan Swift)
- The Writings of Mark Twain
- Les Misérables (Victor Hugo)
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (L Frank Baum)
- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)
Since 1995, there have been a handful of times I've experienced that cognitively dissonant sense of living in the future, of utilizing a new online tool that engendered a feeling of childlike wonder.
The first time I ever saw a World Wide Web page load sloooowly on my computer screen was one. The first time I typed in an address that retrieved a map with driving directions was another. The first time I ever received an instant message and the first time I ever used Skype were two more.
While having complete, immediate, free access to works of literature that you once scorned in high school may not necessarily meet that standard of amazement for some, there is no doubt that the ability to spontaneously choose between, say, The House of the Seven Gables, The Canterbury Tales, and The Story of Doctor Dolittle while waiting on line for a double latte can only accrue to civilization's benefit.