Download novels for free through Google

Published: Saturday 30 September 2006

-- Classics The World

The search engine Google has unveiled plans to offer consumers the chance to download and print classic novels free of charge. The firm's book search tool will let people print classics such as Dante's Inferno or Aesop's Fables, as well as other books no longer under copyright.

Until now, the service has only let people read such books on-screen. The book search service stems from a wider project to put books online in a searchable format. The project began in early 2005. Working with Google on the Books Library project are Oxford University, Harvard, Stanford, the University of Michigan and the University of California, as well as the New York Public Library.

Volunteers working for a project known as Gutenberg have for some years copied out-of-copyright books as text files, which can then be used for printing or reading.

In contrast, Google is offering the books in a print-ready format, as have several other publishing firms. Online shopping site Amazon, for example, has offered limited online access to the contents of its huge bookstore.

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