Ebooks, formats, formatting and the Classics
If you have at all investigated ebooks, you know there are many formats. Plain text is universal and viewable by almost any software or hardware ereader. The grand-daddy of all ebook sites is Project Gutenberg. They have over 27,000 titles on the site, and nearly 100, 000 titles if you count all of their affiliates.
In most cases the file formatting on Gutenberg is “plain vanilla” text. Not bad, but you can often do better. Two sites that pride themselves on a wide variety of formats and great formatting are Feedbooks and Manybooks.
If you have an ereader or just use your computer, there is a format that should work for you. Both sites feature the ability to create custom PDF files where you supply the page size, margins, font size and type.
So on to the classics… Occasionally at the reference desk there will be a flurry of people needing one of the classics, likely for a school assignment. Even though we have 7 copies of Great Expectations, someone will come in (perhaps the “classic” procrastinator…) and need one ASAP when all of ours are already out. Ebooks to the rescue. Here is a page screen grab of a custom PDF made by Feedbooks for my Sony eReader.
So remember when it comes to titles already in the Public Domain (most of the classics) ebooks may be the next best thing. I realize that some people need the warm fuzzies of a real paper book, that is why we have so many copies at the library. Just don’t neglect ereading even if strictly to pass your lit class.