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keyboard pictureIt wasn't so long ago that well-meaning parents, scholars, and knee jerk social engineers were pointing at the dawning of the computer age and claiming that computers were going to usher in increased illiteracy. These people had visions of video screens full of pictures which were activated by keystrokes, and they foretold the rapid demise of the written word. In bold defiance of that warped assertion, I kindly write this blog post.

These days, any person with a computer available to them has many virtual libraries right at their finger tips. These painstakingly assembled databases are growing daily and are providing hungry readers with every type of literature you could imagine. From pulp romance to legal text books and everything in between, it's now more readily available to the average reader than ever before. Let me provide you a few good examples: has an ever-growing selection of classic literature which can be easily searched by author's name, directly from their home page. The site features no flashy advertising or unneeded graphics. Just go in, look around, and grab a book, or click on one, as the case may be.

The Online Books Page is a labor of love for John Mark Ockerbloom, and features over 25,000 online books. The subject categories are as vast as your imagination and the site has additional features to keep your curious eyes interested. You can even help with the project or request a special upload! is a very interesting online library with a focus towards more intellectual writings. The site is excellent for student research and it features categories for reference, verse, fiction and nonfiction. Bartleby seems to have the corner on the market for early American literature.

So you see, we haven't lost all our books after all and I don't think the act of reading is going away any time soon. Perhaps we'll see some decline in the actual physical publishing of books but I think it's safe to say that the written word isn't going to fade away any time soon.

That should make some bloggers I know very happy.

  • Maureen Carter

    While this is an interesting idea reading a book online just is not the same as reading a book. You curl up on the couch with a blanket and hot chocolate and your computer. I love to sit in bed with a book and relax. It may not be as green but I'll save paper in another way, online news papers and blogs. Just let me keep my books.

    P.S. I have only thrown away two books ever and only because they were awful. So I'm not waisting the paper either.

  • reb

    I second Maureen's thoughts on books vs. computers (although I think that for younger generations, that distinction may not be so important).

    But I'd like to add something to your list: is a great site that has volunteers read books that are in the public domain aloud and then puts them up as mp3s so you can download them to your iPod. The quality of the readings are great, and it's all free. It's arguably my favorite website out there these days.

  • Andy

    Can't ignore Project Gutenberg:

    But, I agree with others... electronic is good for searchable reference, but not as enjoyable as page turning.

    Also, note that books can be made from recycled material, thus themselves being a green alternative. Encourage the purchase of material that is FSC certified!

  • David Olsen

    Hi Gary,

    In November Black & Decker is introducing its new VPX Interchangeable Li-Ion Battery System of power tools and home products? Are you interested in receiving a few of the products to test. And then if worthy, write up on your blog? Best,

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