Public Domain Books


The aim of this site is to bring the public domain books featured on sites like Project Gutenberg into easily readable HTML version. Project Gutenberg is the Internet's oldest producer of free electronic books/ eBooks/ eTexts, but most of the files provided there are in plain-text (ASCII) format. On this site, you will find the public domain books in XHTML.


I do not select only specific authors and try to add many different books from a variety of genres and topics, both fiction and non-fiction -- as long as they are completely free to use and public (mostly, this is true for older books, e.g. those books published before 1923, or those where the author is already dead for longer than 70 years).
Some books I might have read, but not all, and I do not (by publishing them) in any way express my own views. Often, I find the title interesting, other times I read the book and liked it, or I might just know the author and trust this title should also be of interest. If you have any suggestions as to which books in specific you would like to see converted and featured on this site, give me feedback.
To balance the subjectiveness of this selection process, I also try to add titles which I might not be interested in much myself but where I think their historical importance is justification in itself.

The language of books is predominantly English, but not restricted to English. I will also add texts in German.


The books found here are in XML format, XHTML1 Strict. Content and layout, as far as possible (with the exception of poems which need a fixed layout) are separated. This means for example that emphasis, if available, is formatted as "emphasis" as opposed to "italics", resulting in media independence (e.g., for text-to-speech, or braille output). Also, different media (like media screen vs print) get different CSS (Cascading Stylesheets).

All these standards and specifics are recommended and maintained by the W3C (the World Wide Web Consortium), headed by Tim Berners-Lee, "the inventor of the World Wide Web" (while he didn't invent the concept of hypertext itself, he's certainly responsible for words such as HTTP, or WWW).

From a developer's perspective; how is the content processed? I do this automatically using PHP, which reads the single source file. This source is (X)HTML and structured with headings (h1, h2, ...). Using that information, the generation of chapters, the table-of-contents, and all the other features (like side-by-side translation display), are automatized.
Chapterization is the most important feature, as this would be a very mundane task to do manually. However the complete HTML file can still be accessed as it's ideal for printing the whole book in one session (if one decides one wants to).


Since this site uses stylesheets for the layout, no presentational aspect is in fixed form, and most details you might want to change can be changed by setting different browser options.
If you find the current form not readable, you can either create a so-called specific "user stylesheet" and override the settings suggested by me (which are rather simple -- black on white, sans-serif, no background imagery or other gimmicks that might hinder easy reading).


On this web site, I do not intend to ever cover all of the public domain books available. (I have neither web space nor time to feature all conversions.) Some titles have been chosen for their small size, which should be additionally suited for online reading. Other because they were not available as HTML so far. Lately, I've also been choosing titles for their value to Web-windows like Google, by looking at which books get the most traffic from search engines.

Helping out

If you want to help out, just link to Authorama and tell others about it.


Gustave Courbet:
Portrait of Juliette Courbet as a Sleeping Child
1841; Graphite on paper; Musee d'Orsay

About the Creator of the Site

My name is Philipp Lenssen and I'm from Germany. More from me at my blog.

Verantwortlich für Inhalte dieser Webseite ist/ Responsible for contents of this site is: Philipp Lenssen, Rudolfstr. 8, 70190 Stuttgart