E-books 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 e-books. You may be pleasantly surprised at how many downloadable books are available for free, and we’re not talking about just classics — there are also sources for current best-sellers. There are a few ways to obtain free e-books, but most fall into two categories: ones from a sort of a clearing house of free and cheap books, and ones from your e-reader’s creator — for example, Amazon, Apple or Barnes & Noble. All are described below so you can pick what works best for you.
In 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’s a list of places to find free downloadable e-books.
1. 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 discounted e-books that match your interests. Choose your books, download it to your reader and away you go.
2. Your local library
Thousands of public libraries, both large and small, offer free e-books through OverDrive, Libby Cloud Library and Hoopla. A free library card is all you need to download e-books and audiobooks from your local library’s website. (Depending on the app, you may also be able to download music and movies.)
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 e-books or search by title or author. The selections vary, depending on the local population’s taste in books.
3. 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 e-reader.
4. Internet Archive
The Internet Archive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that works to create a digital library with free access. Create a free account and access books, movies, images and more. You can use your Internet Archive account to sign in to Open Library and access free books.
If you only want Kindle e-books, Amazon has thousands of free e-books for Kindle (or for your tablet or phone if you use the free Kindle app). Just type “free e-books” on the Amazon homepage for a list of more than 12,000 ebooks. In addition to classics, Amazon offers plenty of popular and recently published books.
6. Barnes & Noble
The bookstore chain offers thousands of free e-books for the Nook. You can also download free Nook apps for Android, iPhone and iPad, as well as computers.
The website ManyBooks has more than 50,000 titles, many of them classics, available for download. The books are available in many formats, including Android, iPhone, iPad, Kindle, Nook and Mac/PC. Sign up for the newsletter and be informed of the latest and greatest.
8. Google eBookstore
Type in “free books” in the search box on the Google eBookstore site to find a ton of free books you can read by downloading the Google Play Books app.
If you prefer to listen to your books, try Librivox. It is free, non-commercial, non-profit and ad-free. The books, read by volunteers, are those that are already in the public domain.
10. International Children’s Library
Created by a research team at the University of Maryland with cooperation from the Internet Archive, the International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL) has created a digital library of children’s books from all over the globe.
11. PDF Books World
Use PDF Books World to download a PDF version of books in the public domain.
Students can use their free BookBoon account to downloadPDF e-textbooks that cover a variety of topics, like creating your CV and basic accounting. There is also a paid business subscription option with a free trial offer, with access to books covering positive change, leadership and project management.
13. Free eBooks
Enjoy up to five free e-books each month when you create a free account with Free eBooks. This site features a wide range of genres, and allows you to view ratings and reviews from other users.
14. Planet eBook
Based in Australia, Planet eBook pulls public domain books from across the globe. Plus, its easy-to-use minimalist design makes browsing a breeze.
15. Book Cave
Book Cave wants to help readers find books they actually want to read. They do that with a sophisticated filtering system, providing options to sort its available free e-books by genre, maturity level, and various types of sensitive content.
16. Standard eBooks
The mission of Standard eBooks is to provide readers with free e-books that “meet or exceed the quality of commercially produced e-books”. This means well-designed covers and no wonky text, perfect for e-reader users with an aesthetic eye.
17. Baen Books
Lovers of science fiction and fantasy novels, rejoice — Baen Books was made for you. This site features numerous free science fiction and fantasy books, with many of them being the first in a series, making it the perfect way to try out a new world for free.
If you liked this article, you might also like:
- 7 places to find cheap books
- Get free — and legal — music and audio books
- Sell your books for cash
- Find cheap and free audiobooks
- 12 cheap ways to kill time without technology