Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Google Announce EPub Downloads for Public Domain Titles

You can get lost in the Google books site and the company has just annouced an expansion of the download options that enable ePub downloads. From their blog site:
Google Books will offer free downloads of these and more than one million more public domain books in an additional format, EPUB. By adding support for EPUB downloads, we're hoping to make these books more accessible by helping people around the world to find and read them in more places. More people are turning to new reading devices to access digital books, and many such phones, netbooks, and e-ink readers have smaller screens that don't readily render image-based PDF versions of the books we've scanned. EPUB is a lightweight text-based digital book format that allows the text to automatically conform (or "reflow") to these smaller screens. 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.
There are some issues with how this announcement has been rolled out but that said there's so much here. For example, librarians will love this from the Bulletin of the American Library Association January -November 1918. (Note: there are some missed OCR's but none that take away from the content). LINK:

THE DAY'S WORK IN HOBOKEN Вт Asa Don Dickinson, A. L. A. Dispatch Agent, Hobolcen, N. J.

Our days at the Hoboken Dispatch Office are full of Interest and Incident. Starting In January with one, we now occupy four of the pleasantest saloons In a town which has ever been famous both for barrooms and Germans. We are but one block back from the water front. The Leviathan docks Just around the corner. Dally an Intermittent stream of very sober looking soldiers passes our door. They are on the long trail which In another moment will bring their feet to the gangplank of a transport.

But we cannot afford to gaze long at the surroundings. The day's work at Hobo- ken means that 6,000 books must be sent overseas and this Involves a good deal of hard work. 6,000 a day means 750 an hour, twelve a minute, one every five seconds. If 6,000 books are to be dispatched dally, 6,000 must be received, acknowledged, unpacked and prepared for shipment dally. They come In lots of all sizes, from a single "Baedeker" up to 20,000 books at once. Ten per cent are purchased books, and these entail ordering and bill checking. They come In all sorts of ways: by quartermaster's freight, by freight prepaid, by freight collect, by express prepaid, by express collect, by parcel post, by moving-van, wagon or limousine, by lighter and by hand. They come with all sorts of addresses, they come In every possible sort of package—nearly 100 packages a day, which should all receive attention on the day of their arrival, for the next day will bring as many more. The books must all be carefully Inspected of course, and a certain number of "unsuit- ables" will have to be disposed of. The very large majority of books which pass inspection must be roughly classified, and each must contain one bookplate, book- pocket, and book card bearing the author's surname and a brief title. (Bless

ings on the librarian who sees that the books he sends us are carefully prepared for shipment. The shelf-list card is not required In our work. Cooperating friends, all please take notice If you would save useless labor.) After the books are made up into carefully proportioned little libraries of about seventy-five volumes each, they are packed In our regulation shipping bookcases. In each box are placed directions to the amateur librarians who are to care for the books overseas. And finally there Is the sealing, stenciling and shipping of the boxes. Some are for use on the transports and later "over there"; some for cargo shipment as part of 50 tons a month asked for by General Pershlng; some are for shipment to one or other of the Naval Bases; or to the Red Cross; or to some particular ship in local waters. About 80 boxes go out each day. Ninety- nine, 7,425 books, is the one-day record so far. Each should bear three pasted labels and on the average five stenclllngs. Our stencil library Is surprisingly large. If a box Is wrongly marked it will surely go astray. In the midst of the hurly-burly over there we cannot but fear It may do so any way.

Suppose we note the events of a busy hour or so at 119 Hudson street: 8:16 a.m.—The dispatch agent arrives, to find a truck waiting to be loaded for the piers. Porters and truckmen are enjoying a cozy social hour. 8:16—The dynamo begins to buzz, galvanizing porters and truckmen Into more or less strenuous action.

8:20—Morning mail arrives: 25 letters and 50 pounds of newspapers and periodicals. 8:25—Truck arrives with load of 50 cases of books received per quartermaster's freight—five lots In the load—two lots are "short" one case apiece.

8:30—Parcel post wagon arrives with 27 parcels: books from publishers, libraries and Individuals, and supplies from headquarters.

8:35—A limousine stops before the door and an early-rising Lady Bountiful enters bearing three Issues of the Saturday Evening Post, and one copy each of Owen Meredith's "Lucile," Irving's "Sketch-book," Mitchell's "Reveries of a bachelor," Drummond's "Natural law In the spiritual world," and "Mr. Brltllng." She naturally wishes to know all about how we send books to soldiers, and holds the dispatch agent in gracious social converse for seven precious minutes, till

8:42—An Irate policeman enters to say traffic on Hudson street Is completely blocked by vehicles standing before our premises.

8:45—Loaded truck departs for the pier, and the traffic begins to trickle through the jam.

8:50—A big express wagon arrives to clog things np again, and at 8:50% comes a giant "seagoing" motor truck nine hours out from Philadelphia with 185 ol our shipping bookcases.

8:51—Three newly hired porters take a good look at this load; then two of them remember that they have been drafted and must leave "for the front" at once; the third candidly states that the work Is too hard for him.

8:52—Telephone bell rings: "One hundred eight boxes of books are lying on Pier 1. They have just come off a lighter from Cheyenne, Wyoming. They weigh about 300 pounds apiece. I suppose they belong to you folks. The major says to tell you they must be taken away before noon, or he will dispose of them as he sees fit."

8:53—Telegram from Washington headquarters: "Congratulations on your last weekly report. Kindly arrange to double your output next week and hereafter."

8:54—Wagon arrives with load of packing

8:56—Another telegram from Washington headquarters: "Use only our standard shipping bookcases. Discontinue at once all use of packing boxes."

8:56 — Telegram from manufacturer of standard shipping bookcases: "Can't get labor or lumber. Don't expect any more boxes for at least a week."

8:58—Distinguished librarian of leisurely habits and a fine conversational talent arrives to Inspect our work.

9:00—Class of Y. M. C. A. transport secretaries arrives to receive instruction in the care and administration of our transport libraries.

9:10—Red Cross chaplain enters with an urgent demand for "Lady Audley's secret." "There is a boy in St. Mary's hospital who must at once have that book and no other."

9:15—Read letter from headquarters: The gist Is as follows: "Don't stick so close to your office. Get out, man, and cultivate diplomatic relations with admirals and major generals."

9:16—Wire from headquarters: "Please release your first assistant." (He had already gone to Boston to establish dispatch office there.)

9:20—Base hospital chaplain enters with a list of 450 titles. He tells us that he has selected them with great care, and hopes there need be no substitutions. They must be on board his ship at 9 a. m. tomorrow. She sails at noon. He doesn't know her name or number or whether she sails from New York, Brooklyn or Hoboken.

9:21—Quartermaster's truck arrives with load of Burleson magazines.

9:23—Three loud explosions In rapid succession on the water front. Many windows are broken by the concussion. All hands rush into the street. German woman from delicatessen shop next door, In hysterics, demands first aid treatment. She gets it—good old-fashioned cold water.

9:25—Moving van arrives with load of 8,000 loose, unsorted books, collected by the New York Public Library.

9:27—Secondhand packing box dealer arrives to take away old boxes, and dealer in old paper arrives for a load of discarded books.

9:28—Military authorities threaten drastic action if we continue to block traffic in Hudson street. A string of 75 quartermaster trucks is being held up.

9:29—Sell two copies of "The Four Million," first editions, to a book dealer for $60.00.

9:30—Long distance telephone from Washington headquarters: "Our representatives abroad report very few books arriving in France. Why is this?"

9:31—Director of Library War Service concludes an unobtrusive visit of Inspection by saying a few kind words as to the progress we are making, and by advising us not to overwork.

9:32—The dispatch agent falls heavily to the floor. He has fainted.


traveling always said...

good content provided. thanks

Martin Eisenstadt said...

[off-topic, but I couldn't find your email...]

Michael - I think we met at BEA, and I apologize if I spilled drinks on you at the Tweetup party. (It was dark; anyone could have made that mistake.) - anyway, I just wanted to dispel the rumor circulating on the internet that the book I just wrote for Farrar, Straus, Giroux is not real. In fact, it is getting released on Nov. 3 to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the presidential election and will contain many new revelations about Sarah Palin and others in the campaign. To prove beyond a doubt that the book exists, my staff at the Harding Institute has just issued this video on YouTube:

I know it’s asking a lot, but if you could please pass on to your readers and followers this vital information, I would greatly appreciate it.

Martin Eisenstadt,
Sr. Fellow, Harding Institute for Freedom & Democracy
Author, “I Am Martin Eisenstadt: One Man’s (wildly inappropriate) Adventures with the Last Republicans”

ps. thanks for pointing me to the Bill Folman video. if you liked that, you might appreciate mine.