(Free) Books on the Internet

posted Mar 15, 2010, 12:59 AM by Professor Katz   [ updated Nov 12, 2013, 4:57 AM ]
It's amazing how many books are now available on the internet in downloadable PDF form, saving you the time, trouble, and expense of shlepping to some foreign library. In fact, I often find myself downloading exactly the same copy of a book that I normally would be reading in my usual seat at the Bodleian Library in Oxford (Seat U151):

Also, sometimes you get to see a ghostly scanned hand, PDFed into cyberspace:
I usually start with the Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org/details/texts   Internet Archive also has old movies, and even better, old TV shows (like 'Leave it to Beaver' and 'Ozzie and Harriet') that clogged our brains in the 1960s: http://www.archive.org/details/moviesandfilms  They're also trying to preserve old websites for future historians: http://www.archive.org/web/web.php

Another good site is Google Books at
http://books.google.com/, although often it is more difficult to use.

If you want to look at books still in print, try going on Amazon, and then hitting the "Look Inside" feature.  You can often see practically the whole book.  The system will eventually kick you off...but you can log in again...sometimes after you wait a decent interval.  It's not a way to read, but very useful for checking footnotes.  It's not good for authors, but it exists.

I won't reveal the link to the Russian website, which offers illegal PDFs of books in print.  If you do use it, don't let it affect your book buying at least: just download either books that you have or books that you would never buy in a million years.  Think of us poor authors.

When you want to find a book printed in England between 1473-1700, you have EEBO (Early English Books Online).  If you are connected to a university server, you can get into the database at
http://eebo.chadwyck.com/search or at TAU by starting at http://www.cenlib.tau.ac.il/lobbi.asp and clicking E for EEBO.

All of these electronic sources change the way we do research, and it's good news for those of us out here in the Middle East.