New Subscription Ebook Service: Forgotten Books

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Ebook subscription services are slowly proving themselves. The three current major ones, Oyster, Scribd, and Entitle, are all growing, in both number of subscribers and number of books offered.

And they are not the only services out there, as I outlined in my post, “A Brief Overview of Subscription Services” (The Digital Reader also wrote about Blloon, a new subscription service with over one million titles).  Now another service can be added to that list: Forgotten Books.

Forgotten-Books-logoForgotten Books was founded in 2007 by Alasdair Forsythe, and it focuses on republishing historical writings. Starting on July 3, the site will launch an unlimited subscription service, with almost 500,000 titles, for $8.99 per month. Users will be able to download the ebooks, and eventually they will be able to read those books on mobile devices.

According to a press release, “Sales and downloads data show that the most popular titles are often the most unexpected, as readers unearth hidden gems from history. Some of these works contain knowledge in danger of being lost as we move into the digital age, it is the mission of Forgotten Books to preserve this knowledge and make it available to all. Examples include books of local folk lore, or treatises on endangered arts such as blacksmithing. Fiction is not neglected either, with both unknown authors and the classics (such as Mark Twain, or Jane Austen) available.”

The site already offers access to a number of free books, to read online. Users can also sign up for a free membership to use enhanced features, and the site shares some Word Data “calculated from a detailed analytical study on all of the English language books on Forgotten Books published between 1500 and 1945.”

A wide variety of readers already use Forgotten Books’ online library, including academics and people looking for works written by their ancestors. According to the press release, “Forgotten Books is committed to keeping these writings available whether they are commercially viable or not.”


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