Thing 8 is focussing on Project Gutenberg. I didn’t know the project name before 23 Things but the concept of free digital access to out of copyright books is not new to me as Google books seemed to be in the headlines quite a bit a while ago, both for possible copyright infringement and also for the fancy book scanners they were using which can turn the pages all by themselves (crazy!). I hadn’t really paid much attention to it before because I was very negative about the idea of an ebook. Why on earth would you want to read something on a screen when you could hold a lovely book in your hand? Friends swore by them and people would brag about how pleased they were with their all new longer battery life – a book with batteries? No thanks.
However, I have started to change my tune slightly. After iTunes gave away free ebooks in its 12 Days of Christmas promotion I started reading my first ebook. I thought reading it on an iPhone screen would be hell but I was surprised that I actually forgot after a while and just got into the book. So when I found out about Project Gutenberg I though it would be a great opportunity to start reading some Dickens as I’ve only ever read A Christmas Carol although I do enjoy a good BBC adaptation. After a bit of confusion about what format I needed and how to download to iBooks (which was much simpler that the PG website would have you believe) I had Oliver Twist in my pocket and I was ready for my trip to London later that day. It was great to be able to read on the tube without having to lug a book around with me all day so I may well download a few more from Project Gutenberg but I can’t say I’ll be giving up real paper books any time soon.