A Graceful Exit
The World Library Blog Newsletter
Volume 1, Number 25
Thursday, Sept 1, 2011
by Michael S. Hart
Founder, Project Gutenberg,
Inventor of eBooks
A Graceful Exit
As most of my friends know, I have accomplished all of the goals
I have set for myself throughout my life, and I think I can say,
without fear of too much repercussive responses, that the career
I have chosen in eBooks has been a success in terms of what I've
been trying to accomplish for these last four decades.
At the same time, I do realize that other persons have had other
ideas/ideals about eBooks, who have called me everything from an
outright raging Communist, to sincere Socialist, to unqualified,
in terms of membership. . .not ability. . .member of Capitalists
Exploiting The World. . .no kidding. I do realize that is might
be difficult for persons living on the other side of this world,
given the information they have to work with, to view me, or any
other American, as anything other than a Capitalist Imperialist,
so I bear less in the way of ill feelings about this.
However, now the time has come to talk of other things.
Yes, I do have one more impossible goal I dream of, but I do not
believe I can accomplish it in the same manner I accomplished an
assortment of previous goals, with a combination of persistence,
ability, and convincing others to give me unofficial assistance,
as I face a combination of limited time, limited resources and I
must admit, declining energy levels, though I still manage to do
more work than I ever did before.
However, I do realize that without some serious changed in life,
there is little possibility of accomplishing my last goal with a
lifestyle continuing in the same vein.
Therefore, I now would like to remind you of my last goals:
1. A Billion eBook Library
2. Spending More Time In Hawaii
3. Working To Create A Graceful Exit
Here are the details:
A Billion eBook Library
There are ~25 million books in the public domain.
If we do ~40% of these that will be ~10 million eBooks.
There are ~250 languages with over a million speakers.
If we do ~40% of these that will be ~100 languages.
10 million eBooks translated into 100 languages yields
ONE BILLION eBOOKS
Note: I realize how impossible this sounds, given the
powerful lack of interest by thousands of translators,
and other experts I have contacted, but given previous
personal experiences shared by each of you and myself,
I think we must realize it IS possible, even if we are
going to have to do all to much of it ourselves.
Nevertheless, I plan to devote a serious amount of the
time I have remaining to doing the setup required.
2. Spending More Time In Hawaii
As most of you know, Hawaii was just too laid back for
me to stay there more than a month at a time when this
opportunity first appeared.
However, you must also realize that from 1999 to 2011,
I obviously have aged 12 years, and the difference for
me between 52, when I could still pretend to be ~40's,
and today, when there is little pretending possible, I
am now much more likely to spend at least half my time
there, if not even more, given that I might expect the
pressures to increase to abandon my Illinois residence
for various and sundry reasons we should maybe discuss
when we get together next.
However, I can tell you that pressures of Winter, here
in Illinois, plus those of advancing age, make it more
and more difficult to look forward to more of this.
I should add that even though Spring is my favorite of
all the seasons, this spring was an effort, but with a
lot of luck I once again managed to do all I planned.
However, I must also admit that this, too, will get to
be more and more difficult as the years progress.
Therefore I am very glad to announce that I have a job
with World Public LIbrary in Hawaii and will be moving
3. A Graceful Exit
I would like to support all the efforts I have before,
plus the final one I have listed above, without any of
repercussions that could take place with I shuffle off
this mortal coil.
In some ways I would like to simply work behind scenes
as much as possible so I won't be missed when I'm gone
from those activities, but I also realize that my name
just might be worth something in public relations so I
leave some of that decision open for your advice.
As John and Greg can testify, I am still capable of an
awful lot of Newsletter writing, though it does take a
toll, particularly when I have lots more to do for the
other portions of my life. Again, I leave this open a
lot for your advice.
Please refer to the previous message I sent about work
on setting up a new, and much different kind of setup,
for The Billion eBook Project, I will resend it.
If I/we play our cards right, perhaps I can leave this
scene without causing undue trouble, and perhaps I can
even manage it in absentia as some kind of motivation,
perhaps setting some goal, perhaps even some rewarding
procedures for accomplishment.
I, personally, do not think the world at large really,
sincerely wants to provide literacy and education from
anyone to The Third World, in spite of all lip service
to the contrary. . .so I warn you that the possibility
exists that this project will not be supported from an
outside set of sources that I still plan to approach--
so you might find that you are more on your own that I
would like to hope, and that you might have to expect,
really, a future that is more like the past, in terms,
sadly to say, of having to do a LOT of this work on an
individual basis more than having the world's support.
I hope you feel up to the task. . .you will be tempted
more and more to rest from exhaustion as you get older
and older. . .the all nighters will turn into just get
up early when the air is clear, but you will also find
that what you can accomplish in those fewer hours will
be more than you ever did before, because experience's
power is greater than you might think today.
That is what I leave you with. . . .
Another goal that is nigh well on to impossible.
Little hope of finding any real world support.
And the hope that your experience will leverage future
endeavors for you as much as it has for me.
I hope you can put enough into these efforts that I am
able to depart as gracefully as is possible these days.
Hoping to thank you soon for your time & consideration,