By Jessica Lyons
Created in November of 2007, Open Library is a project of Internet Archives, a non-profit organization that has been scanning books. Open Library has more than 20 million records of books that let visitors find information like a synopsis or even what the book cover looks like. But Open Library's services go far beyond just giving you the basic information about a book. The site also boasts having more than one million free ebook titles, which could certainly be helpful to students looking to get books off of their required readings lists. You can search for the book you want to read and, if it's available, you'll get details on the book and then see the different editions available. You can download it in various formats, such as a PDF file, or even have it sent to your Kindle.
In addition to doing a general search for your book of interest, you can browse books based on subject, place, person or time period. You can even create lists that let you watch for updates of certain topics. For instance, you could create a list for 'famous ghost hauntings' and be informed when anything related to it is updated on the site.
You Can Be a Contributor
If you know a lot about books and want to share your knowledge with fellow readers, you can even help edit information through the Open Library. The Open Library site explains that visitors can edit current information, such as by correcting typos, or add new book records. This will all help Open Library get closer to its ultimate goal of having a page for every book published. As an avid book fan, it would be hard to pass up the chance to make a meaningful contribution to ensuring more people have access to books.
Other Ways to Help the Cause
Your ability to further Open Library's mission doesn't have to end with editing or adding entries on the site. Through a current book drive, donations of 100 books or fewer can be mailed or dropped off to Internet Archives' San Francisco, California headquarters. If you want to donate even more than 100 books, you can contact the organization to make arrangements. Monetary donations are also being accepted. This will all help to make sure even more books can be scanned in. To find out more about contributing to the book drive, visit the Open Library site.
Looking for other places to get books cheaper? Check out these sources for student textbooks.