The e-reader battle rages on as Google (GOOGL) has announced the release of more than a million public domain books in the open, ePub format. ePub is a document format that makes it easier for anyone with an iPhone, a BlackBerry or a Sony eReader to access books on mobile devices–no need for a fancy new Kindle! Google’s support of ePub comes shortly after Sony’s announcement that it was switching to ePub for its own publishing, and was endorsed by Random House and HarperCollins.
In a post on the Inside Google Books blog, product manager Brandon Badger said that ePub was being added to the existing plain text and PDF download options because it will make the books more accessible on phones, netbooks and e-ink readers where PDF versions aren’t easily and readably rendered. “EPUB is a lightweight text-based digital book format that allows the text to automatically conform (or ‘reflow’) to these smaller screens,” Mr. Badger explained in the post. “And because EPUB is a free, open standard supported by a growing ecosystem of digital reading devices, works you download from Google Books as EPUBs won’t be tied to or locked into a particular device. We’ll also continue to make available these books in the popular PDF format so you can see images of the pages just as they appear in the printed book.”
Downloading a book onto your phone or desktop may seem simple: just type in a title on Google Books and public domain books will include a download link in the upper right hand corner. But these books can be tricky to find–and most of them are in foreign languages. So here’s a few of our recommendations for weekend reading, with direct links to the classics for easy downloading.
- The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
- The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
- This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
- Grimm’s Fairy Tales
- Extraordinary women: their girlhood and early life by William Russell
- History of the state of New York by John Romeyn Brodhead
- New York 170 years ago with a view: and explanatory notes by Joseph W. Moulton