Perusing through Groklaw today I noticed an interesting article. Google has finally started putting some of the books online that they started scanning. You are able to download full versions of books whose copywrites have run out. You can check out the Google blog for more information.
… preserving knowledge and art …
Keep in mind that Project Gutenberg has been doing this type of activity for some time now. They are more of a community based effort, so I encourage you to support them in what they are doing.
Projects like Project Gutenberg and Google Books are extremely important in preserving knowledge and art from past generations. Unfortunately, with copywrite laws and patent laws these days, who knows if ideas and books and art will be able to be freely shared in the future by our children. We need to preserve what we can.
It appears that Google is doing scans of the books, at least from what little I played around with it. Gutenberg is actually making the books available as text files.