Open library’s been doing that the whole time…. for free

By Jessamyn West

Amazon’s “Kindle Unlimited” announcement has been helping raise awareness of Open Library.

Last week, Amazon informed us that for ten dollars per month, Kindle users can have unlimited access to over six hundred thousand books in its library. But it shouldn’t cost a thing to borrow a book, Amazon, you foul, horrible, profiteering enemies of civilization. For a monthly cost of zero dollars, it is possible to read six million e-texts at the Open Library, right now. On a Kindle, or any other tablet or screen thing.

Don’t forget our easy to use interface or downloading with your choice of device or software!
sesame street book of nonsense in the bookreader

Open Library Scheduled Hardware Maintenance (completed)

By Jessamyn West

Open Library will be down from 5:00PM to 7:00PM SF time (PDT, UTC/GMT -7 hours) on July 8, 2014 due to scheduled hardware maintenance. We’ll post updates here and on @openlibrary twitter. Thank you for your cooperation.

UPDATE: 5:50PM PDT – the hardware maintenance is complete and is back online.


Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 11.08.55

The Internet’s Own Boy premieres today

By Jessamyn West

The Internet’s Own Boy, the documentary about Aaron Swartz, premieres online and in theaters today. You can watch it on the Internet Archive. From the film’s website

The Internet’s Own Boy follows the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz’s help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz’s groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two-year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron’s story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties.

Here is Aaron’s blog post, from 2007, announcing Open Library. We wouldn’t have gotten to where we are without him and we miss him.

Our goal is to build the world’s greatest library, then put it up on the Internet free for all to use and edit. Books are the place you go when you have something you want to share with the world — our planet’s cultural legacy. And never has there been a bigger attempt to bring them all together.

Here are his slides from his “Building the Open Library” talk also in 2007.

screen shot from Aaron Swartz's slides, Building Open Library

Resolved: Open Library unexpected downtime

By Jessamyn West

Update: This should now be resolved. 6 pm PDT.

Adobe had an unprecedented license server outage for most of the day on May 15th (PDT). Users have experienced issues checking books out of our lending library, mainly getting various Adobe errors. We are still trying to resolve the issues resulting from Adobe’s server outage and hope to fix the problem as quickly as possible. We’ve been in contact with our license provider and we hope to have it fixed soon. In the meantime lending/reading books via the BookReader is still functioning normally.

Apologies for the inconvenience. We’ll update the help page when it’s fixed.

Open Library Scheduled Hardware Maintenance (Completed)

By Anand Chitipothu

Open Library will be down from 5:00PM to 6:00PM SF time (PDT, UTC/GMT -7 hours) on April 1, 2014 due to a scheduled hardware maintenance.

We’ll post updates here and on @openlibrary twitter.

Thank you for your cooperation.

UPDATE 5:23PM PDT - is back online now.

Open Library Scheduled Maintenance (Completed)

By Anand Chitipothu

Open Library will be down from 4:00PM to 4:30PM SF time (PDT, UTC/GMT -7 hours) on March 25, 2014 due to a scheduled hardware maintenance.

We’ll post updates here and on @openlibrary twitter.

Thank you for your cooperation.

UPDATE 4:45PM - is back online now.

Open Library Scheduled Downtime (Completed)

By Anand Chitipothu

Open Library will be down from during the following time due to a scheduled power outage.

  • Tuesday, April  16 - 7:00AM to 12:00 noon
  • Wednesday, April 17 - 2:00PM to 7:00PM

Thank you for your cooperation.

 UPDATE 5:30PM PST: is back online.

Rest in peace, Aaron Swartz

By Anand Chitipothu

Aaron Swartz committed suicide yesterday (Jan 11, 2013).

The Open Library wouldn’t exist without him. He wrote the backbone of the system you see today, hired the team that built the first version of the website.

He founded Demand Progress, which launched the campaign against the Internet censorship bills (SOPA/PIPA), coauthored the RSS 1.0 specification, cofounded the online news site Reddit, among many other good things.

His death is a great loss to all of us. May his soul rest in peace.

Scheduled Downtime (Completed)

By Anand Chitipothu

We’re planning for a scheduled downtime on Sunday, August 5 for migrating our database server to new hardware. Open Library will be unavailable for  about 3 hours during 7:00 PM PST – 10:00 PM PST. We’ll post here when the site’s back online.

UPDATE 8:40PM PST: The migration is  complete. Both and are back online.

Reading lending library books on the Nook

By Mike McCabe

Our lending library books now work on the Nook!

If you can read online, try the ‘Read In Browser’ link on a borrowable book. This is simplest!  Otherwise, you’ll need a computer, with Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) installed.

Once you have ADE, here’s how to use it with your Nook:

  • Quit Digital Editions, if it’s running
  • Plug in the Nook, and start ADE
  • ADE should recognize the Nook, and offer to associate with it. Make sure you can see the Nook under ‘Bookshelves’ on the left. Ok!
  • Go to the borrow page and borrow a book in pdf or epub format.
  • If ADE is working properly, you should see your book!
  • Next, go to ‘Library View’ in ADE – in the upper left.
  • In the Library View, drag your new book over to the Nook icon under ‘Bookshelves.’
  • Quit ADE and eject your Nook.

To read on the Nook:

  • Go to your Library (on a Nook Color, do this by touching the bottom of the touchscreen)
  • Go to ‘my files’ – at the top – and open ‘Digital Editions’
  • Open your book! (if it says ‘sorry, can’t open this book’, try again.)

To return your book early so that others can borrow it:

  • Quit ADE if it’s running
  • Plug in your Nook and start ADE
  • Open ‘Library View’ and click ‘All Items’ on the left
  • On your book icon, there’s a drop down menu (a little triangle) in the upper left – select ‘Return Borrowed Item’
  • Open the Nook, in the bookshelf area on the left.
  • On your book icon – select ‘Return Borrowed Item’.
  • Your book should now be available to borrow again!

If you run into trouble, here’s a forum on the Barnes and Noble site about how to get ADE working with the Nook.