19th-century printing press

Typographia: An Historical Sketch of the Origin and Progress of the Art of Printing was published in 1825, “Printed for Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy.” The author was Thomas Curson Hansard. The book is now available as a Google scan. Its musty pages contain some information that has been largely forgotten. Here’s a passage offering some insight into the life and character of the typographer William Caslon.

character of william caslon

As you can see, like many nineteenth-century books, this one, despite its topic, is not a good example of the typographic arts.

Is it too technologically difficult or time-consuming for the texts of these public domain books to be rendered by Google as texts rather than graphics? In this respect Project Gutenberg is far superior.

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1 Comment

  1. Let me second that motion. Google scanned books are horrible. The interface is clunky and the type choices are medieval. Now, if they are concerned about copyright, that’s one issue but if the book is old and out of print, why not provide a much more readable copy? Nobody’s going to buy it anyway.
    Although I guess there are a lot of other issues here including copyright.