One of the world’s biggest online library projects is now available for free. If you’ve never heard of the Internet Archive, it’s time to get acquainted. The platform has just made a whopping 1.4 million books available, for free.
Yes, that means your favourite JK Rowling or Stephen King books are now available at no cost.
The project, which began a decade ago, allows users to digitally ‘check out’ digital scans of physical books, i.e. an encrypted PDF that would expire after two weeks. But just like your local brick-and-mortar library, there is a limited number of each book available to download at any one time—so waiting lists were common.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has caused public libraries to close for an undisclosed amount of time, the online platform has lifted all book rental limits. As of March 24, the Internet Archive will ‘lend’ books to anyone in the world—at the same time.
“The Internet Archive will suspend waitlists for the 1.4 million (and growing) books in our lending library by creating a National Emergency Library to serve the nation’s displaced learners,” the Internet Archive said in a statement. “This suspension will run through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later.”
The move comes after a rising demand for e-books over the last few weeks, which has prompted publishers like Haymarket Books, among others, to supply readers with free copies.
Photo by Robert Anasch