The Free Ebook Foundation takes advantage of its small size and flexibility to undertake exploratory projects. Our recent work has centered on free ebook usage and automated updates.
Usage of Free Ebooks
The Mellon Foundation funded a project led by the University of Michigan, in which the Free Ebook Foundation, University of Michigan Press, and Open Book Publishers worked on "Mapping the Free Ebook Supply Chain". The goal was to better understand how free ebooks are being discovered, acquired, and used. The final report of that project is available at https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/137638.
Here is a possible directions for this work:
As part of the GITenberg project, an "auto-update" server was built to take automatically add new and updated ebooks to the GITenberg website and to Unglue.it. A team from Stevens Institute of Technology is working with us to build a "River of Ebooks" system that will apply the autoupdate techniques to a variety of ebook autoring environments.
Offline Ebook Distribution
USB flash drives that can store 128GB are now available for only $20 - that's more than enough storage for all 60,000 books in Project Gutenberg. An offline version of Project Gutenberg had been developed by the Kiwix Project, already behind the "Offline Wikipedia" distribution effort. Together with a team of computer-science seniors from Steven Institute of Technology, and building on our development work with Project Gutenberg, the Free Ebook Foundation undertook to improve the usabality and currency of the Kiwix-developed Gutenberg content module. The students added bookshelf functionality to the modules, and helped to streamline the process of module creation.