Printing PressRecognize that thing to the left? Yup, it’s a printing press.

And it’s there because today’s resource has something to do with the man that invented movable type and the printing press: Johannes Gutenberg. The resource is Project Gutenberg – a collection of over 40,000 free books online.

This place is nothing new. It’s been around for decades, and I remember first browsing through its contents back in the 1990’s. There are thousands of out-of-copyright books, including the works of Shakespeare, H.G. Wells, and many other classics.

Years ago, I didn’t like it so much. The books were offered as plain text files, and these were not easy to read. Reading a book on a computer is difficult, and it’s extremely difficult if there’s no formatting to make the text pretty and more user-friendly.

Now, however, they’ve made some improvements. Most of the texts are available as eBooks – like Kindle and ePub formats. This allows you to download the book directly to your phone, import it into your favorite reader app, and read it on your phone with the standard eBook formatting. This makes the books much more readable, pretty, and user friendly.

This is probably most useful for language arts teachers – it gives you a veritable library of free books for kids to read. However, if you browse through some of the stuff you’ll find primary resources and books that would be great to excerpt or use in a social studies class. For example, the memoirs of General Sherman might be useful when teaching about the Civil War.

I think I might actually read some of that…

What about you? What have you found on Project Gutenberg worth reading or using in class?