02 Feb 09 Gutenberg.org eBooks
Probably about 80% of the over 1200 ebooks I have are from Gutenberg.org, from where I’ve been collecting books since at least about the early 1990s, mostly in ascii text format.
The Sony Reader handles Gutenberg files very well. Since I read a lot of poetry, I don’t even have to format them in any way, just load them on. Some of the prose, fiction, etc., word wraps weirdly, as you may be familiar with. I’ve never understood why all the computer people can’t get that fixed…. Anyway, if you copy and paste the book into a word processor and then save it as an RTF file, the generic format that all word processors have available, the Reader will handle them just fine. It’s an easy fix. There are several formats too that work well on different devices.
The frustration I’ve had with Gutenberg.org over the years is with the quality of the text. On a scholarly, editorial level, I don’t feel comfortable with their policy of sometimes using two or three sources to “produce” the “best” text. That leaves too much latitude, to say the least, for people with little or no literary or textual sophistication to “create” and misedit the classics and other books of essential importance. It seems to me too that it’s a problem that the academic community ought to confront and help educate the public about. Unless one believes it’s not important to have the book as the author wrote it, but a conflation….