Millions More Public Domain Books Could Be Online Soon—Here's How to Access Them

noipornpan/iStock via Getty Images
noipornpan/iStock via Getty Images

You don't need to visit a bookstore or even an online retailer to find new reading material. Millions of books published decades ago are now in the public domain—and the New York Public Library is making it easier than ever to find these titles and download them for free. According to Vice, many books published before 1964 whose copyright status was previously unknown have been revealed by the library to be in the public domain.

Today, new books generally hold their copyright for 70 years following the author's death, but a few decades ago, the law worked differently. Any books published before 1964 had a copyright term of 28 years, and authors or publishers had to fill out separate paperwork if they wanted to extend it. Most either forgot or chose not to, and today roughly 80 percent of books published in the U.S. between 1923 to 1964 are in the public domain.

In the 1970s, the Library of Congress maintained a catalog of which books had their copyrights renewed, and anyone can view digital copies of that information on the Internet Archive. A quick glance at the documents makes it clear that many new books have entered the public domain recently—but tallying all of them posed a problem. The data was too vast for computers to process, preventing many repositories from determining which books were legal to upload.

The New York Public Library tackled this issued by converting the Library of Congress's catalog into an XML format. Thanks to the library's ambitious project, the copyright status of all American books published between 1923 and 1964 is searchable, and public domain websites are now busy updating their archives.

If you're interested in browsing the new titles that are now free and legal to read and download, there are multiple online databases worth checking out. Project Gutenberg, the Hathi Trust, and the Internet Archive are great places to find both old and recent entries to the public domain.

[h/t Vice]

These Rugged Steel-Toe Boots Look and Feel Like Summer Sneakers

Indestructible Shoes
Indestructible Shoes

Thanks to new, high-tech materials, our favorite shoes are lighter and more comfortable than ever. Unfortunately, one thing most sneakers are not is durable. They can’t protect your feet from the rain, let alone heavy objects. Luckily, as their name implies, Indestructible Shoes has come up with a line of steel-toe boots that look and feel like regular sneakers.

Made to be incredibly strong but still lightweight, every pair of Indestructible Shoes has steel toes, skid-proof grips, and shock-absorption technology. But they don't look clunky or bulky, which makes them suitable whether you're going to work, the gym, or a family gathering.

The Hummer is Indestructible Shoes’s most well-rounded model. It features European steel toes to protect your feet, while the durable "flymesh" material wicks moisture to keep your feet feeling fresh. The insole features 3D arch support and extra padding in the heel cup. And the outsole features additional padding that distributes weight and helps your body withstand strain.

Indestructible Shoes Hummer.
The Hummer from Indestructible Shoes.
Indestructible Shoes

There’s also the Xciter, Indestructible Shoes’s latest design. The company prioritized comfort for this model, with the same steel toes as the Hummer, but with additional extra-large, no-slip outsoles capable of gripping even smooth, slippery surfaces—like, say, a boat deck. The upper is made of breathable moisture-wicking flymesh to help keep your feet dry in the rain or if you're wearing them on the water.

If you want a more breathable shoe for the peak summer months, there's the Ryder. This shoe is designed to be a stylish solution to the problem of sweaty feet, thanks to a breathable mesh that maximizes airflow and minimizes sweat and odor. Meanwhile, extra padding in the midsole will keep your feet protected.

You can get 44 percent off all styles if you order today.

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Google Teams Up With The Conscious Kid on a Book List to Promote Racial Equity in Classrooms

Tomi Adeyemi's Children of Blood and Bone is on the list, and for good reason.
Tomi Adeyemi's Children of Blood and Bone is on the list, and for good reason.
Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Glamour

Google has teamed up with The Conscious Kid—an organization that promotes racial equity in education—to curate a list of books and other resources aimed at helping teachers establish more inclusive classrooms and foster conversations about racism and acceptance.

The reading list groups works by grade level, and many of them have corresponding teaching guides with discussion questions, writing prompts, and other activities [PDF]. For Lupita Nyong’o’s Sulwe, which tells the story of a young girl bullied because of her dark skin, students in preschool through second grade are presented questions like “Why do you think Sulwe believes she must have lighter skin in order to make friends? What advice would you give to Sulwe?” For Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone, high-schoolers are asked to create a travel brochure for the fictional country of Orïsha, “emphasizing its positive aspects and great variety.”

The online packet also contains a number of guidelines for teachers to consider when choosing their own reading material. One helpful tip, for example, is to re-evaluate the “classics” before assigning them to make sure they don’t reinforce racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, or other harmful messages. Another is to foster healthy racial identity by avoiding books “where characters of color can only succeed when conforming to white values or norms.”

It’s part of Google’s broader campaign to amplify diversity in public education by providing educators with the resources needed to do it. Last year, the company donated $5 million to DonorsChoose—a platform that teachers can use to crowdsource funds for classroom projects—for the launch of #ISeeMe, an initiative that highlights projects submitted by Black and Latinx teachers, as well as those that focus on diversity and inclusion. This year, Google pledged an additional $1 million to matching donations made to #ISeeMe projects.

You can see The Conscious Kid’s full reading list here [PDF], and learn more about contributing to #ISeeMe projects here.