Project Gutenberg

Waiting for Apple's iPad and its iBooks and iBookstore app? The outstanding Project Gutenberg has 30,000 free-as-in-beer-and-and-as-in-speech ePub format eBooks to help keep you start building your library today.

If you're not already familiar with the geeky details, ePub is the open, free-flowing eBook format that Apple is using for iBooks. However, let's caveat that "open" piece -- ePub books bought from the iBookstore will be using Apple's FairPlay DRM (digital rights management) which means that while ePub is a widely supported format, Apple ePub books won't work on other devices, and ePub books using other DRM (like Adobe Content Server) won't work on the iPad. Headache, right? Well, the good news is DRM-free ePub eBooks -- like those from Project Gutenberg -- should work on the iPad and pretty much everything else.

To use Project Gutenberg, just click on the link above and browse or search away. If you're not sure where to start, try their Top 100 list. When you find something you like, scroll down to the EPUB link and download the file.

Apple is also giving us an easy-as-iTunes way to drag, drop, manage and sync free ePub books over to the iPad. (Hopefully iPhone owners will one day get the same ability, though in the meantime we have the powerful if less elegant super-combo of Calibre and Stanza.)

If you know of any other great sources for free ePub content -- or any terrific free eBooks you want to recommend -- tell us about them in the comments.