On Friday, Boston Public Library became the first OverDrive library partner to add more than 15,000 public domain eBooks from Project Gutenberg to its ‘Virtual Branch’ website—at no cost to the library. This featured collection, currently in beta, enables users to discover and download thousands of DRM-free EPUB eBooks without holds, waiting lists, or authentication.
Boston Public Library users can visit the Project Gutenberg collection webpage, search for titles, hit the download button, and save the free eBook to their computer. The titles can be read in any EPUB-compatible software and transferred to EPUB-capable eBook readers such as the Sony Reader, nook, or Kobo. (A graphic, like the one on the right, guides the user to the free EPUB eBook collection on the library’s ‘Virtual Branch’ website.)
For users, the Project Gutenberg collection expands and enhances ‘Virtual Branch’ websites by making thousands of EPUB eBooks available without waitlists or holds. They can always find an eBook title to download from the library—instantly. And eBooks downloaded from the Project Gutenberg collection don’t expire or count against their checkout limit.
For our library partners, the Project Gutenberg collection expands their role as a gateway to digital content on the Web. While there are tens of thousands of eBooks available on Project Gutenberg’s website, the titles that we are integrating into ‘Virtual Branch’ websites will be scrubbed for quality. Only the best EPUB eBooks will be added OverDrive-powered websites.
Plus, every EPUB eBook downloaded from the Project Gutenberg collection will count as a circulation even though a user doesn’t need to sign in to access the titles. We’ll have separate reporting functionality built into the Content Reserve admin portal so you can check your Project Gutenberg stats.
Project Gutenberg collections are currently being rolled out to library partners in the US and UK with eBooks. As we investigate the finer points of international copyright law, we’ll expand availability to libraries in additional international territories.
For now, go ahead and give Boston Public Library’s Project Gutenberg webpage a try and let us know what you think in the comments below.
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