Looking for stuff to read? How about access to 1.4 million ebooks?

Yep, the National Emergency Library has opened access to 1.4 million books, including lots of sci-fi ( apparently a bunch of the Star Trek novels are included ) mysteries etc. You can find the details here https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/genre-picks-galore-national-emergency-library

PS: I searched Isaac Asimov as a test and pretty much everything he wrote including tons of collections he was part of is available.

Disclaimer: It appears that while the site has good intentions during this pandemic, there may be some copyright issues with some of their content. Since its a “loaner” library and they are not profiting by selling these books, I am guessing its a bit of a grey area. So be aware of this if you choose to utilize this site.

Thank you! This should keep me out of trouble.

Looks like they have many years of this, which was always my favorite way to get a sense of who I should read more of.

EDIT: I’m removing the link because yeah, this looks like piracy.

After that article lauding John M. Ford the other day, I’ve been trying to find his work. When they mentioned old Star Trek books, I had a suspicion about this collection. Sure enough, they have his two Star Trek novels:
How Much For Just The Planet: https://archive.org/details/howmuchforjustpl00ford
Final Reflection: https://archive.org/details/finalreflections00ford

Also, it turns out, his historical fantasy masterpiece The Dragon Waiting
And his loosely Borderlands shared universe affiliated The Last Hot Time

Both excellent (I found them elsewhere, but it’s a handy place to point.)
And a couple others I’m not familiar with:

There’s a couple other books by other authors that come up because he apparently did a map or maps for them. Who knew.

I got set up and borrowed the first Witcher book and Conquest of Bread, but I have to say, that Adobe app on Android is wretched. It only registers about a third of my taps or swipes as inputs. I’ll try it on an iPad and see if it’s any better. It’d be nice to have something to read while trapped in my house!

Who knew such a thing existed?

I love this book. I’ve had a paperback copy for ages, well dog-eared.

Is there a way to get .mobi versions? I don’t really like reading .pdfs on my Kindle.

I did some more reasearch into this, this is basically a pirate site.

No, it’s a long established nonprofit (The Internet Archive - the national emergency library thing is just a specific subset of their archive) with a mission of preservation, who also do commissioned archiving as a resource stream. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re not in full compliance with copyright, because copyright as currently structured is heavily antithetical to preservation, but they are at least attempting to be responsible stewards.

I am going to disagree with this, strongly. One of the books I saw was a scan from the Boston Public Library, complete with BPL tags. The bolded section sounds like, “The information wants to be free, man.”

The books I searched for are not out of print, which would fall into the gray area of preservation.

Maybe someone like @Miramon (sorry tag you into this) can offer a little more insight on this.

Edit: I do think the Internet Archive does a good job of archiving things in case the website goes down, or the domain expires, and stuff that was generally available on blogs and the like. This is a different thing.

There may be books in there that are in print and should not be on the site. I wouldn’t know. I would bet that they have a way to report that to them for removal, if you feel strongly about the issue. Whether they get to it right away or at all…well. We’ll see, I guess?

I can tell you for a fact the John M. Ford books I linked to above are not in print, but at the time they were scanned it was also completely unknown who held the copyright and strict compliance with copyright would have made it impossible to preserve these excellent books because there was no one to check with. It is also fully possible for the copyright holder to simply decline to make any given material available regardless of whether they are actually making money on it. This is what I mean by copyright as currently structured being heavily antithetical to preservation. (I would, personally, hope that now that they’ve found and talked to the rights holder in his case and his work will be coming back into print, it will also be removed from the Archive as and when it becomes available. But I would not be at all surprised if his Star Trek novels, which also would have to deal with the Trek license, did not.)

Evidently there is a lot of piracy there.

I’ve seen at least 4-5 other authors complaining.

Are these authors also against libraries? Because I hate to break it to them, but some branch of any given local library system probably has their books available for free also. It’s just that, you know, they’re closed right now because there’s a global pandemic.

(I wouldn’t be surprised. There are quite a few authors I’ve seen bristle about libraries, TBH.)

And what the Dr. says there is true. It’s a 14 day loan, not a permanent do what you want download. It’s also true that it’s probably not been paid for up front, and they didn’t ask. I’m okay with that, personally. I can understand why someone might object. I still think it’s unnecessarily inflammatory and not particularly accurate to describe it as a “pirate site”.

The current action of the Internet Archive is pure piracy. They’ve done useful work in the past, but this is simply criminal. Some of these books were just recently released too, so there’s no halfassed arguments to be made about being out of print or unavailable. And the vast majority of authors are just scraping by, most unable to support themselves through writing, so even a small number of lost sales affects them severely.

As for libraries, of course no one objects to them because a) they are a long-established system, b) they pay for their books, and c) there are only limited numbers of copies (including ebooks) of any book available to be read. Piracy of any kind is bad enough, but when promulgated by a still somewhat respected organization it sends the message that books needn’t be purchased at all.

Like I say, I’ve seen plenty of authors object to libraries. It’s just an unpopular opinion because most of the general public consider them a public good. (And, IMO, rightly so.) Moreover, publishers are trying some real bullshit shenanigans around their ebook access recently because they apparently consider them a threat.

That was just Macmillan, restricting access to recent releases for an embargo period. They stopped doing it when everyone objected, however.

Even the regular ebook handling is super locked down and limited compared to how libraries were used to operating with physical books. But anyway. My suggestion, since we’re unlikely to influence what the Archive does here, is to suggest out of print gems in the collection for people so as to get something out of it without treading on too many toes. For example, Mike Ford’s stuff above.

The licensing for ebooks and libraries is different. I use Overdrive to get books from my library, Most of them are fulfilled via Amazon. The main difference between my library and the licensing agreement says only one copy of the ebook can be loaned out at one time. While most authors don’t have much of a problem with libraries, at least the agreement between the library and the publisher is a legal one.