In a June 3, 2004 New York Times there was an article titled, "In the Virtual Stacks, Pirated Books Find Eager Thumbs". I found a line in the article that really made me think.
The article was mentioning a 39 year old man that downloads many books that still are under copyright and he also used Project Gutenberg. Here is the brief section from the article.
For classics he visits Project Gutenberg, a vast legal repository of mostly older works for which no copyright is in effect; he uses news groups to download current publications still protected by copyright. ''These groups offer opportunity to read books not always available,'' he said. ''I have yet to find a library or bookstore so well stocked.
He has not found a library or bookstore that is as well stocked as Project Gutenberg? Project Gutenberg currently has around 13,000 etexts. Even small public libraries have collections that rival that number. But I think this gets to an interesting point. Why would such a small collection be considered so large by the user? I think it is because every etext listed can be clicked on and viewed full text. The book is always on the shelf. It is never out of print. The user gets the experience of, "if you see it we have it." At a library sometimes the book is missing or checked out.
What do you think of the users statement of never seeing a library or bookstore so well stocked?