Avid readers can download and print classics such as Dante’s Divine Comedy and Aesop’s Fables through Google’s Book Search for free from today, say the Guardian and the BBC. Readers will be allowed to download PDF files of books no longer under copyright.
But I wasn’t able to access the service here in Singapore. The website http://books.google.com "was not found on this server", according to my browser.
Does the service exist only on a limited number of servers? That was not mentioned in the Official Google Blog or any other site I checked.
I would have loved to see the PDF files. Maybe the service will become available here as well. I didn’t try to access Google Books earlier because it only allowed online reading, not downloading, of files. Now that it allows downloading, too, it would be interesting to see how it compares with Gutenberg.
Speaking of Dante, I did possess a copy of John Ciardi’s translation, bought from a secondhand book stall in Calcutta (Kolkata) in my college days. I wonder if I will ever be able to read something like it again. These days, I am more into mysteries and thrillers. But I would certainly like to read Chaucer again — the bawdy and comic tales, especially the Nun’s Priest’s Tale, but not the romances.