A recent column on where to find free books for today’s popular digital readers brought a flood of responses, a few questions and a bit of a scolding. It seems I overlooked public libraries as a potential source of free ebook downloads. Given the popularity of the subject, I thought it would be wise to revisit this very popular subject of free eBooks.
By way of review, ebooks, which you download to read on any number of digital readers outfitted with specific software–a computer, iPad, Android, iPhone or other smartphone–are all the rage. Remember: You don’t need a Kindle device, Nook reader or smartphone to download ebooks created for those readers. The software is free to download to your computer. And if you know where to look, you can get an endless supply of ebooks absolutely free, as well.
Libraries. Check with our local library to see if they offer ebook checkouts. As long as you are a library card holder, you may be able to login from home and download ebooks for free. The way it works in most cases is that you check out or put ebooks on reserve, as the number of copies available are limited, and for a specific number of days.
Project Gutenberg. A non-profit organization Project Gutenberg offers 36,000 public-domain titles for free.
Amazon. Every month Amazon offers free downloads of selected titles for Kindle. Simple type “free Kindle books” into the search bar to see the current offering of free Kindle books.
Barnes and Noble. Barnes and Noble offers free books for for its Nook reader. From it’s home page, type “free Nook books” into the search bar and prepare to be amazed!
OpenCulture. Enjoy amazing free access to 150 classics in eBook format by authors like Jane Austen, Agatha Christie and Charles Dickens at OpenCulture.com.
Smashwords. This destination offers free ebooks from independent authors and publishers. There are almost 200,000 titles in the catalog. To quickly get to the list of free ebooks, simply use the combination of three top filter bars. For instance, from those three menus, select: bestsellers – that are free – that are 50k words or longer.
InternetArchive. This is a non-profit digital library whose mission is “universal access to all knowledge.” The website is a huge library of text, audio and video file. It boasts 3.8 million ebooks and texts. As you browse and you find a book of interest, look at the panel on the left to see a list of available formats. Most of the time, ePub (a friendly digital format) will be included.
ManyBooks. This site offers about 30,000 free ebooks. You’ll find ManyBooks.net to be well organized and easy to browse and that books are available in an impressive number of formats.
On a personal note, I do not own a reading device like an iPad, Kindle or Nook. I have a laptop computer on which I have downloaded the free Kindle reader software. I own a growing library of nearly 300 Kindle books and read them from my computer screen.