View Full Version : Suggestions for distributing cleaner e-books?

2012-06-16, 06:37 PM
The public domain is a wonderful thing, but there is one problem--the lack of profit motive means distribution of public domain works is entirely volunteer and a little spotty.

I got an Amazon Kindle semi-recently. And I mostly love it. But oftentimes public domain e-books are ugly and badly-formatted to the point of unreadability. The worst offender is poetry; the line breaks are often just missing, which is not acceptable.

Using Calibre and Microsoft Word, I've cleaned up Sonnets from the Portuguese and am working on my favorite translation of Cyrano de Bergerac. But I really don't know how to distribute these cleaner e-books; Project Gutenberg's submissions process appears to be exclusive to new books and Amazon charges for seller accounts and has a minimum list price for their vaunted Kindle publishing services; those are the two main places I find public domain works.

I'm more than happy to donate the time needed to make these files readable and convert them to a few common formats, but if I can't distribute the cleaned-up versions then the good I'm doing is pretty minimal.

2012-06-17, 09:12 AM
From the Gutenberg FAQ:

What you actually need to do to produce a PG text can be stated very simply:

Borrow or buy an eligible book.
Send us a copy of the front and back of the title page, and wait for an OK.
Turn the book into electronic text.
Send it to us.

That's it! All the rest of the producing parts of the FAQ are about the details of how different people approach these steps.

Different people find their own ways into PG work, and once in, find their own niches. If you have your own ideas, don't let anything here stop you from pursuing them.

Most people now start by registering at Distributed Proofreaders http://www.pgdp.net, proofing a page or two, and go on from there.

Some people just read the FAQs, go up to their attic, pull an eligible book off the shelf, send TP&V [V.25] in, and start typing or scanning. Next time we hear from them is when they send in [V.46] the completed eBook for posting. It can be as simple as that.

Some people just download existing PG texts, re-proof them very carefully and send in corrections.

Some people find regular collaborators through gutvol-d or the distributed proofing sites, earn a reputation as reliable proofers, and continue working as proofers.