Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

That PDF is just a bunch of scanned images of the book. It's large and cumbersome in many readers.

There is a much better PDF at Project Gutenberg [1].

The Gutenberg PDF is only 1.9 MB, compared to 12 MB for the scanned image PDF.

The Gutenberg page for this book [2] also has a link to the LaTeX source for the PDF.

[1] http://www.gutenberg.org/files/33283/33283-pdf.pdf

[2] http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/33283

You say 1.9MB, the Gutenberg page says 1.8MB, and the download itself is only 1.18MB thanks to gzip. The main difference is that the Gutenberg PDF is a transcribed, cleaned-up version.

As much as this probably makes me sound like an audiophile, I actually prefer the raw scans over what may essentially be a reprint. They show all the blemishes, unofficial additions, and other marks that make the book look more "real" and give it character.

In this instance, the raw scan has a picture of the cover, as well as an interesting note handwritten near the beginning: "Property of Edward M Sumner" with an address. IMHO these sorts of historical artifacts are worth preserving too. I've come across scans with random notes, bookmark fragments, and newspaper clippings included, and it's always fun to ponder how they got there. (Who is this person and how did he get the book? Is he the one who scanned it? Etc.)

This is why I love used books. My copy of Schopenhauer's collected essays has gone through 4 owners since 1914, all 4 of whom have signed and dated the front cover, all of 4 of whom have marked and underlined at different spots (including, now, myself). My copy of Riverside Chaucer went through two students before me. And they all pick up their own unique scents along the way (my girlfriend jokes that I only buy books to smell them).

Just a side note, off topic: I was that king off person who had a shelf in my house with 300 printed books (and some more stored in boxes in the basement).. it was always a pain when I had to move to a new apartment! After the e-books and pdfs came by we got a lot of flexibility .. now it's easy to have 3000 volumes in the hard disk. You can literally carry a library with you.. I ended up giving away most of them, apart if some classics (e.g. The art of computer programming from Knuth, Operating Systems, from Tanenbaum, and some other classics for image processing..) The only thing I miss very much is that I loved the feeling of picking up one at random and expend a couple of hours ... I just can not have the same feeling with e-books.. :(

Visit a good library. There are really great ones with lovely reading rooms still all over the place. Totally under used and under appreciated imho.

I'm with you guys! This book has some serious character. The cover, handwriting, imperfections, and on top of it all, the writing style.

The problem with used books tho is that sometimes I find hair. Ugh.

Might be proof of DNA of a previous owner. Depending on the historical value that could be golden

So what? You remove the hair and read on.

> You say 1.9MB, the Gutenberg page says 1.8MB

The PDF is 1892715 bytes = 1.892715 MB. I rounded to two significant digits, giving 1.9 MB.

When Gutenberg says 1.8 MB they probably actually mean 1.8 MiB. 1892715 bytes = 1.80503368377685546875 MiB, or 1.8 MiB to two significant digits.

1.81 MiB to be precise.

For what it's worth, a DjVu of that scan is about 1.4MB. On my phone I can't spot the difference. It's a shame that format never caught on.

[1] http://any2djvu.djvu.org/djvu/170421/

Warning: Attempting to open this file in ebook software stalled my decently-specced Android phone for about a minute until the software crashed.

Huh. Sorry about that. EBookDroid on my 2013-era Android loaded it fine in about 1 second for the first page.

(I included the link in case anyone was interested in the quality and to prove I didn't just make up the number!)

Must be something with the program you are using. I've just opened the file on my WP10 device with ancient Snapdragon 400 and I don't see any problem with reading, scrolling etc.

And here's the github hosted version because gutenberg seems to be freaking out right now:


Seems to be an ipv6 connection problem; if you add gutenberg.org to network.dns.ipv4OnlyDomains in firefox it works fine.

Weirdly, I can telnet to port 80 & GET / on the ipv6 address just fine.

>There is a much better PDF

LaTeX is not an aesthetic cure-all. The original, at least, has been subjected to the critical eye of a typesetter. There is no disputing taste, but I will anyway. If you're using an e-paper device, btw, you can vectorize the text in scanned pdfs like this by applying "Clearscan" in Acrobat, or the equivalent (after which, it becomes readable).

line spacing of the gutenberg-latex-typeset version is terribly enlarged. It's a disease... Who can read that?

Thank you for this link! The book is much more pleasant to read in this format.

And a slightly updated physical version as well http://a.co/gI4K8oe

Or get a used paperback for ~$4 from Amazon subsidiary AbeBooks.

With an affiliate link nice

That was my guess too, but this one actually isn't. Amazon uses "?ref" for reference (innocuous), and "?tag" for affiliates.

For quick reference, a.co and amzn.com are official shorteners and considered safe. amzn.to links however are third-party and often used to conceal affiliate links.

You're right. Missed that, my bad.

Here you go:


Just click the book, then under "Share" click the email button, and you'll see..........

a.co is amazon's in house url shortener....freaking seriously man....

Is there a easy way of converting it into Kindle friendly pdf (or mobi) ?

If you on ios you just open it in kindle from the browser and the it should import it

see my other comment in this thread.

thanks for the Gutenberg link.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact