Ebooks cost on average $7 each. That’s less than the cost of print books, but a two-book-per-week-habit can add up to around $60 per month. Ouch!
We have a solution – FREE ebooks. You may be pleasantly surprised, especially if you’re looking for books published years ago, to find how many downloadable books are available for free. But there are also sources for current best-sellers. There are a few ways to obtain free ebooks but most fall into two different categories, the first being sort of a clearing house of free and cheap books, the second being your e-reader’s creator, i.e. Amazon, Apple or Barnes & Noble. All are described below so you can pick what works best for you.
More good news: These free books aren’t just for grown-ups. If your kids have an e-reader or borrow yours, they can find plenty of kids titles available from these resources as well.
Here are eight places to find free downloadable ebooks:
- Book Bub. Don’t have time to spend searching for FREE books? Book Bub is a free subscription-type service. You sign up using your email address and select the types of books you like to read. Every day, you’ll receive an email listing all of the free or majorly discounted ebooks that match your interests. Choose your books, download it to your reader and away you go.
- Read Cheaply. Similarly to Book Bub, Read Cheaply is a FREE subscription service. You sign up, select your favorite genres and daily lists are delivered to your email box. Also, like Book Bub, Read Cheaply doesn’t sell books; it simply alerts you to the cheap and free limited-time deals when they’re available at Amazon’s Kindle store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, Apple’s iBooks store, Google Play store, Kobo and more.
- Your local library. Thousands of public libraries, both large and small, offer FREE ebooks through OverDrive, a digital content provider with more than 1 million titles from 1,000 publishers. A free library card is all you need to download ebooks from your local library’s website. Click here to find the nearest branch of your local library. Fill in your zip code, click on your library’s website and – voila! — you’re looking at a selection of the latest bestsellers and popular classics, complete with author bios, excerpts and reviews. Scroll through newly added ebooks or search by title or author. The selections vary, depending on the local population’s taste in books. For example, the Boston Public Library currently features James Patterson’s Unlucky 13. In Colon, Michigan, a small town surrounded by Amish farms, the top choice is Living in Harmony, the latest in a series of books about the Amish community. Some also offer current magazines or audiobooks to borrow as well. The length of time you can borrow may vary by library. And, as long as no one has the book reserved, you can check it out again if necessary.
- Project Gutenberg. You don’t need a library card to access the more than 40,000 titles offered free by Project Gutenberg, a volunteer organization that digitizes books no longer protected by copyright. Expect to find classics like Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, The Republic by Plato and Beowulf. You can read the books on your computer, mobile device or Kindle.
- Amazon. If you only want Kindle books, Amazon has thousands of free ebooks for Kindle (or for your computer if you use the free Kindle app). Just type in free ebooks on the Amazon homepage for a list of more than 12,000 ebooks. In addition to classics, Amazon offers lighter reading such as Innocent in Las Vegas A Humorous Tiffany Black Mystery, published in 2013, and The Billionaire’s First Christmas published in 2014. Even if you don’t have a Kindle device, you can download free Kindle apps for Apple, Android and your computer.
- Barnes & Noble. The bookstore chain offers thousands of free ebooks for the Nook. You can also download free Nook apps for Android, iPhone and iPad, as well as computers.
- ManyBooks.net. The website ManyBooks.net. has more than 26,000 titles, many of them classics, available for download. The books are available in many formats, including Android, iPhone, iPad, Kindle, Nook and Mac/PC.
- Hoopla. If you’re more interested in audiobooks (or music and movies), check out Hoopla. It works similarly to Overdrive, as you use your library card to borrow the material. The service is not available at all libraries, but when you register, Hoopla will let you know what libraries near you offer the service.
Have you found other good sources for free ebooks? Leave a comment and spread the word.