I have some voracious readers in my family, sometimes reading several books a week if time allows. They prefer the convenience and space-saving aspects of ebooks, so to keep costs down, we came up with a list of free ebook sites that appear to be legitimate. As with all advice or suggestions on this site, please check them out yourself to ensure that you feel they are safe, especially when downloading.*
Free eBooks at Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg is a long-time favorite with approximately 56,000 free ebooks, including a small collection of audiobooks. Even more exciting, after a 20-year hiatus, the U.S. Annual Copyright Term Expiry is set to begin again in January, 2019, which will result in even more public domain offerings. For more info, click here to read an article by The Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke Law School.
Free eBooks at BookBub
By signing up for notifications, BookBub can notify you when a book you want is discounted or even free. They offer free ebooks daily, so check their site often.
Free eBooks at Baen Free Library
Baen Free Library – If you are a science fiction or fantasy fan, you probably already know about Baen Books. It was established in 1983 by science fiction writer Jim Baen. In addition to books for sale, there are over 60 free ebooks available to download in several formats. You will need to provide them with a name and email address for their records.
Free eBooks at Feedbooks
Founded in 2007 in Paris, Feedbooks has a large library of public domain books (free ebooks) available for download. This site is known for its ease of use with mobile devices. While they do offer bestsellers and other books for sale, the sheer number of free books is impressive.
Free eBooks at Loyal Books
Loyal Books used to be called Books Should be Free. It offers a large collection of free classic audiobooks as well as free ebooks
Free eBooks at Europeana
Europeana allows you to virtually visit every major museum and national library in Europe. Launched in 2008, over 3,000 European institutions contribute to this site on culture heritage. To find free ebooks, search for “text” and “public domain”.
Free eBooks at DPLA
Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is the American version of Europeana and includes photographs, maps, museum objects and artwork, government documents and much more. On this site, there is more information about:
- HathiTrust with millions of books online including digital content from research libraries.
- Open eBooks is an app containing thousands of popular and award-winning titles that are free for kids from underprivileged communities.
Ebook File Types
So what does this all mean? Do you need to run out and buy a Kindle or Nook? Absolutely not! Almost every free download allows you to read it on your laptop, tablet, or mobile device. You just need to understand the different ebook file types and use a great open source software called Calibre (for Windows, Mac, or Linux) to get your device to recognize the book. For a demo of Calibre, click here. Note: while Calibre is successful in converting most files types, .PDFs do not normally convert well. Click here for more information about conversion types.
There are so many other sites that advertise free books that it can be overwhelming. Some are real, but many are scammer sites so be careful.
There is one more worth mentioning, but beware, it is controversial and authors are not happy about it: Ebook.Bike. This site is based in Vancouver and contains an insane number of books available to download for free – even bestsellers. Supposedly, it is legal because authors do have the option of deleting their books if they don’t want them shared. The site declares that its main purpose is to give publicity to the authors and therefore, it is a good thing. There are several articles online from authors complaining about the site and calling it piracy, but it has been up and running for years without repercussions (it used to be called Tuebl.ca). Please know that the site is often down and sometimes frustrating to deal with. You can decide if you think it is ethical or not.
Do you know of any other legitimate sites? Please comment below.
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