Publishers We Like #2: Dennis Drayton on Project Gutenberg

This is sort of a cheat. Project Gutenberg might be more like a book seller than a publisher,  but with the difference that they give the books away for free. The big twist is that all the books are out of copyright. This means that it varies from country to country because copyright law is still the sensible renew after 25 years (eg Australia)  in some countries and the ridiculous “the publishers get to keep the money forever especially if the author has no heirs” 50 to 75 years after author’s death in other countries. You would think as a writer I would be pleased at the long copyright spans, but no it seems to be a corporate greed measure as opposed to anything to do with the helping writers (many of whom, like starving musicians, sign away all their rights, but that’s a discussion for another day)

Anyway, the range of books available at Project Gutenberg is staggering, ranging from the first Georgette Heyer book (recently out of copyright everywhere) some of the vigorously (and dubiously) defended works of James Joyce (who went back into copyright retrospectively in what seems like a ground breaking legal precedent without precedent) all the way back to the works of the ancient Greeks.

If you are not technically minded,  getting the books onto you Kindle, Kobo or whatever reader might be a bit of a challenge, but you can have a look at the HTML versions to start with and get a knowledgeable person to help if you like what you see.

Well worth a browse if you like older books, some of which have aged very well. For discussion of some, see my next post!

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