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Thursday Midday Links: Michael Hart of Project Gutenberg Has Passed Away

Michael Hart of Project Gutenberg has passed away. I don’t think that Hart’s contribution to learning can ever be overestimated. He pioneered digital publishing and brought over a hundred thousand of out of print, public domain works to the reading public regardless of learning ability, economic status, or, in many cases, geographic location. From Wikipedia:

Michael Stern Hart (March 8, 1947 – September 6, 2011)[1] was an American author best known as the founder of Project Gutenberg which makes electronic books freely available via the Internet. At least one version of each book is a plain text file that can be displayed on virtually any computer. Most of the early postings were typed in by Hart himself. Today, the e-texts are produced (usually scanned) by Project Gutenberg’s many volunteers. The collection includes public domain works and copyrighted works included with express permission.

He instituted standards and the works edited and formatted by Project Gutenberg are as polished as you will find from any publisher. His death is a real loss to anyone who loves literature.


Maili gave me the heads up on this new publisher for the UK readers (and I assume, given the way that territorial rights are parsed out, that means most of Europe as well as Australia and New Zealand). will be launching a digital first romance imprint called that seems largely comprised of titles previously published rather than new, original fiction. From the Bookseller:

The first eight e-books will be released on 29th September, with plans to publish four titles per month subsequently. The list will be split into six sub-genres—Regency, Historical, Suspense, Contemporary, Paranormal and Occasions—with every title to be available for under £5.


According to Nate at The Digital Reader, Digitimes reported that it received an order for new devices from Barnes & Noble. The new device will be a NookColor but other than that the details are sparse. BN usually releases new products in October and November so expect an announcement, if there is a new device, by the end of this month.

All these rumors and releases required an update of the DA Buying Guide.


Amazon is going to test out locker delivery systems at 7-11 stores. Order something and have it delivered to the local 7-11. You can then go to the convenience store with your email order confirmation, scan a barcode and your product can be procured from one of the available lockers.

I’m not sure if this marks a signal of increased shipping costs to one’s home for Amazon purchases.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Janine
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 12:36:39

    Condolences to Michael Hart’s loved ones.

  2. Laura Florand
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 13:21:53

    How sad! I’ve just spent half the morning on Gutenberg, looking through old texts. He left a wonderful legacy to us all.

  3. Elaine
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 14:34:51

    I am guessing the locker delivery system will be for people in areas where it is not safe to leave a delivery on the front porch.

  4. LG
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 14:39:22

    @Elaine: That makes sense. I live in an apartment where we’re lucky enough to have postal lockers, but I don’t think every apartment complex has them. My apartment complex allows me to have things shipped to the leasing office, which I do when I think something requires a signature or will be too big for the postal locker, but I’d hate having to go to the leasing office for every one of my packages.

  5. Isabel C.
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 14:50:40

    I personally owe Hart and Project Gutenberg big time: PG let me save hundreds on college textbooks, kept me entertained during slow days at work, and exposed me to an enormous number of books I wouldn’t have found otherwise. That’s quite something to leave behind you.

  6. library addict
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 15:10:00

    My thoughts are with Michael Hart’s family.

    Thanks for updating the buying guide.

  7. DS
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 17:04:44

    If people across the country are having the problem I have had with the smaller delivery service Amazon uses– Prestige in my case, then this may be an attempt to save money. Despite the fact that there is someone on site from 5 am to 6 pm their drivers will leave packages on the front steps without ringing the bell and they will be stolen. I hope that the person who ended up with a ream of 20# ivory paper enjoyed it. I’m sure that wasn’t what they expected in the Amazon box.

  8. Lil
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 21:53:39

    Michael Hart was one of the good guys of the world. He enriched life for all of us. One of the many people I neglected to thank in time.

  9. Stumbling Over Chaos :: Linkity and a new tattoo!
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 10:14:56

    […] Book and publishing news from Dear Author. […]

  10. Gwen Hayes
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 21:58:49

    Yikes, the nearest 7-11 is 2 hours away from me.

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