The first eBook was available in July 1971, as eText #1 of ProjectGutenberg, a visionary project launched by Michael Hart to create freeelectronic versions of literary works and disseminate them worldwide.In 2008, Project Gutenberg had aproduction rate of 340 new books each month, 40 mirror sitesworldwide, and books being downloaded by the tens of thousands everyday.
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In December 2003, Distributed Proofreaders Europe (DP EUrope) were launched by Project Rastko, followed by Project Gutenberg Europe (PG Europe) in January 2004. Project Gutenberg Europe celebrated its first 100 books in June 2005. These books were in several languages, a reflection of European linguistic diversity, with 100 languages planned for the long term.
In January 2005, Project Gutenberg reached the landmark of 15,000 books. eBook number 15000 is The Life of Reason, by George Santayana (published in 1906). In July 2005, Project Gutenberg of Australia (launched in 2001) reached the landmark of 500 books. New teams were getting