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Where can I read books online?

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Quick Answer

Over 46,000 books are offered online by Project Gutenberg, an online repository of previously published material. Project Gutenberg is completely free, and offers books both online and for download. An additional 100,000 books are available through Project Gutenberg's affiliates.

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Where can I read books online?
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Full Answer

Project Gutenberg is a volunteer effort to create and distribute an electronic collection of books. It was founded in 1971 by Michael Hart, reports the Encyclopaedia Britannica, when Hart transcirbed a copy of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. While Project Gutenberg does store recently printed books, it only records books in the public domain. In many jurisdictions, an author's copyright on a book remains for 50 or 70 years after death. For instance, books published between 1923 and 1977 maintain their copyright for 95 years after publication, while books published since then maintain their copyright for 70 years after the author's death. While this doesn't affect many older works, it ensures that Project Gutenberg is often unable to print more recently published works.

Project Gutenberg carries works predominantly in English, although Encyclopaedia Britannica reports that works in other languages have been carried since 1997. The 2004 introduction of Project Gutenberg Europe meant the transcription of non-English books was included. Project Gutenberg now holds copies of works in over 50 languages.

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