C|Net These books are free
Google Book Search now offers PDF files of scanned books that can be downloaded and printed for free, Google announced on Wednesday.
Readers can find the books by choosing the "Full view books" option on the Google Book Search home page before they activate their search. Once they have chosen a book from the results page, a download button is clearly visible on the top-right corner of the page.
The PDFs are offered only for those books that fall into the public domain and are intended for personal use.
"We use very conservative rules to comply with international copyright laws," Google spokeswoman Megan Lamb said.
A book's availability depends on the country from which the user is accessing the site. Google blocks users from works that are not yet in the public domain for their country, Lamb said.
A carefully worded note on usage from Google, included as the first page of each downloaded PDF file, explains what "public domain" means and how it can vary by country. Google also notes that users are responsible for following their own country's copyright laws.
"Make noncommercial use of the file. Refrain from automated querying. Maintain attribution. Keep it legal," Google lists as usage guidelines.
Many of these titles have been available for a long while from Project Gutenberg.