Larry Bonura's Blog

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6th Annual World eBook Fair starts today with 6.5 million free ebooks

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The brief history of the World eBook Fair shows a tremendous growth in the number of eBooks offered: the First World eBook Fair had 300,000 books available; in 2008, the Fair doubled to 600,000 books; and in 2009, it offered 1,250,000 books. This year’s World eBook Fair will offer 6,500,000 free eBooks!

You can download your free eBooks from today, 4 July, for one month, ending 4 Aug.

Contributions from 100+ eLibraries and thousands of volunteers from around the world made possible this World eBook Fair’s monstrous number of eBooks. The collections include light and heavy reading materials, more reference books, scientific items, and more. There are about 50,000 music entries in addition to the 12,000 that debuted last year.  The Internet Archive and Project Gutenberg are also presenting a number of items in other media, including music, movies, artwork, and even dance choreography.

Here’s an estimate of the numbers of titles available from different sources:

  • 2,800,000 from The Internet Archive
  • 2,100,000 from World Public Library
  • 1,510,000 from Wattpad
  • 115,000 from Project Gutenberg
  • 100,000 from International Music Score Library Project
  • 10,000 from various other eBook sites

In addition to presenting twice as many eBooks, the Fair’s organizers are trying to reach ten times as much of the population by including a number of programs a person can use to read these eBooks on phones, MP3 players, PDAs, iPods, and other mobile devices. Think about it this way: There aren’t even a million Kindles or Sonys, but there are now about 4.5 billion cell phones—which means the potential of readers reading via cell phones is larger than any other media.

As the organizer’s believe that the cell phone is the wave of the future (not, they claim, the Kindle or Sony approach), the World eBook Fair is looking to reach billions in this year’s month-long giveaway. And, obviously, to reach billions of worldwide readers, the Fair is offering more eBooks in more languages, including in English, Chinese, German, French, Spanish, and Urdu.

Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg and co-founder of the World eBook Fair says “We hope you and yours will find lifetimes of reading materials to expand your horizons over the years.” He also suggests that you “Start with the Browse Collections page.”

I’m curious: How many of you took part in the World eBook Fair last year and how many of you are planning on taking part this year?  Please complete the following poll:

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