Standard Ebooks

Free and liberated ebooks,
carefully produced for the true book lover.

Ereaders with a Standard Ebook open.

Standard Ebooks is a volunteer-driven project that produces new editions of public domain ebooks that are lovingly formatted, open source, free of U.S. copyright restrictions, and free of cost.

Ebook projects like Project Gutenberg transcribe ebooks and make them available for the widest number of reading devices. Standard Ebooks takes ebooks from sources like Project Gutenberg, formats and typesets them using a carefully designed and professional-grade style manual, fully proofreads and corrects them, and then builds them to create a new edition that takes advantage of state-of-the-art ereader and browser technology.

Standard Ebooks aren’t just a beautiful addition to your digital library—they’re a high quality standard to build your own ebooks on.

What makes Standard Ebooks different?

Modern & consistent typography

Other free ebooks don’t put much effort into professional-quality typography: they use "straight" quotes instead of “curly” quotes, they ignore details like em- and en-dashes, and they look more like early-90’s web pages instead of actual books.

Standard Ebooks applies a rigorous and modern style manual when developing each and every ebook to ensure they meet a professional-grade and consistent typographical standard. Our ebooks look good.

An example of bad typography. An example of Standard Ebooks typography. An arrow pointing from bad typography to good typography.

Full proofing with careful corrections

Transcriptions from other sources are often filled with typos or suffer from issues like inconsistent spelling, missing accent marks, or missing punctuation. Submitting corrections to such sources can be difficult or impossible, so errors are rarely fixed.

At Standard Ebooks, we do a careful and complete readthrough of each ebook before releasing it, checking it against a scan of the original pages to fix as many typos as possible. Even if we do miss something, our ebooks are stored in the hugely popular Git source control system, allowing anyone to easily submit a correction.

A text with proofreader’s marks.

Rich & detailed metadata

Our ebooks include complete, well-researched, and consistent metadata, including original, detailed book blurbs and links to encyclopedia sources. Perfect for machine processing or for extra-curious, technically-minded readers.

Ebook metadata displayed in an ereader program.

State-of-the-art technology

Each Standard Ebook takes full advantage of the latest ereader technology, including:

  • Hyphenation support,

  • Popup footnotes,

  • High-resolution and scalable vector graphics,

  • Ereader-compatible tables of contents,

and more. One of our goals is to ensure our ebooks stay up-to-date with the best reading experience technology can provide. Just because it’s a classic doesn’t mean it has to use old technology.

A screenshot of a popup endnote. A screenshot of an ebook’s table of contents.

Quality covers

Everyone knows a book is judged by its cover, but most free ebooks leave it to your ereader software to generate a drab default cover.

Standard Ebooks draws from a vast collection of public domain fine art to create attractive, unique, appropriate, and consistent covers for each of our ebooks.

An ebookshelf featuring Standard Ebooks covers.

Clean code & semantic markup

Our strict coding standards allow technologists and ebook producers to use Standard Ebooks files as reliable, easy to read, and robust bases for their own work—not to mention as models of what well-crafted ebook files look like. Common code patterns are repeated through different ebooks, so the code never surprises you.

Each ebook is also enhanced with careful standards-based semantic markup that opens the gateway for exciting new kinds of machine processing.

The source code for an ebook.

Free, open-source, & public domain

We use the popular Git source control system to track each and every change made to our ebooks. Anyone can easily see a history of changes, or contribute their own changes with the click of a mouse.

And while all of the ebooks we feature and the cover art we draw from are already believed to be in the public domain in the U.S., Standard Ebooks releases all of the work we put in to each ebook into the public domain too. That makes each and every one of our ebook files not just free, but libre too—because the world deserves more unrestricted culture.

The Git SCM logo. The no-copyright symbol. The anti-DRM symbol.