I was startled while online today to discover that the ‘Books iRead’ program on Facebook also allows access to online copies of some books. Currently, in fact, there are 16,306 titles available. At the top of the list: C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. No doubt it’s all as a result of the upcoming movie, but still, the idea itself is intriguing. Not only are places like Google Books and Project Gutenberg getting all the text they can get their hands on for all of us readers, but even social networking sites are promoting book browsing. I love it!
Unfortunately, the Facebook copy from Harper Collins is incomplete – small sections of pages throughout the text are missing. The Google Books copy is the same. Perhaps they aren’t the same pages, and I could get a complete read by combining the two of them – I didn’t check. Still, it makes me wonder. Do they really think they’re going to sell another copy of the book by cutting pages 36-39? Why not just make it all available? Lewis is long since mouldering in his grave – no doubt that’s why they’re making the movies now, without need for his consent.
To close, Project Gutenberg contains only one work by Lewis: Spirits in Bondage, a collection of poems. This is due to the fact that all of his other works have not yet fallen into the public domain. I doubt these poems are of great significance to modern times, as I’ve never heard of them. However, it does make me wonder what we’re waiting for in regards to the rest of the his works. I mean, I’m all for giving children their inheritance, but there comes a time at which the past can no longer claim rights over the future.