PastBooks.com was created to help genealogists, researchers and students of local history, in obtaining difficult to find books by making them available digitally.
Digitised books are nothing new, and are becoming increasingly more widespread. I wanted to use my experience in genealogical research and computers to provide others with the chance of obtaining research materials that would be of use.
Why digital books?
The cost of producing a digital version of a book is substantially less than reprinting on paper, which makes digital books much cheaper. On average a digital book costs around £15 where by it could cost over £100 to buy an original copy of the book - that is assuming you were able to find one. Not only are some of these books very hard to find, some are also very heavy. The cost of one digitised book is sometimes less than that of the postage of some of these volumes.
Size does matter
Digital books are much compacter and lighter than their printed counterparts. In these modern times of appartments and smaller houses, space is at a premium, and thus you can store many more digital versions of books in your CD rack, whereas you would soon run out of bookshelf space for their counterparts. Think of the weight too if you ever move! They can also be stored on your laptop or PDA, thus you can take your library with you when you are away from home.
Although some people still prefer to have a book in their hands, many more people are converting to the digital versions. Why? Because it is possible to enhance images, enlarge images, print copies without having access to a photocopier and email snapshots of pages to other researchers. Think of the time and money that can save. Instead of reading about a reference to a book, you can read a reference and see the page as well! No more having to go to the library, track down the book, possibly wait several weeks for it to arrive, go back to the library and then look at the book only to find that the information was not quite what you expected.
One of the biggest advantages of digital books is that many are searchable. This means that you can search for any word that you are looking for, not just those that have been entered in the index. Searching through 400 pages of a book for your family's name or farm can be done in seconds instead of days.
Tip : If you want to change the size of the text on a web page, then while pressing the CTRL key, move the mouse's scroll wheel up or down.