12 places for thrifty bookworms to download the best free e-books

Looking for the next great book to sink your teeth into? Look no further.

If you don’t want to lug around a hardcover in your bag or under your arm, you might want to invest in some e-books. And, thankfully, this is an investment that won’t break the bank. Digital bookworms — you can get in a good read without spending a dime. The internet is filled with free e-book resources so you can download new reads and old classics from the comfort of your smartphone, iPad, or whatever eReader you prefer. If you have a Kindle, there are loads of other places you can download free e-books, specifically made for your device. And, once you’re all set up, you might even be able to share them with friends and family from your Kindle.

Here’s a list of 12 places where you can find a wealth of free e-books (yes, free e-books!).

1. Google eBookstore

The Google eBookstore offers an entire section of free e-books to download.
Credit: GOOGLE EBOOKSTORE

In the free section of the Google eBookstore, you’ll find a ton of free books from a variety of genres. Look here for bestsellers, favorite classics, and more, including titles from Ayn Rand and Franz Kafka. Books are available in several formats, and you can also check out ratings and reviews from other users.

2. Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg has of over 60,000 free e-books.
Credit: Project Gutenberg

With a collection of more than 45,000 free e-books, Project Gutenberg is a volunteer effort to create and share e-books online. The selection includes everything from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll to Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. No registration or fee is required, and books are available in ePub, Kindle, HTML, and simple text formats.

3. Open Library

Never run out of free book download options with Open Library.
Credit: OPEN LIBRARY

The Open Library has more than one million free e-books available. This library catalog is an open online project of Internet Archive, and allows users to contribute books, which allows for its fascinating selection of everything from Ronald Dahl to John Grisham. You can easily search by the title, author, and subject.

4. Internet Archive

Internet Archive has millions of free books, movies, music, and more.
Credit: Internet Archive

If you’re looking for out-of-print books in different languages and formats, check out this non-profit digital library. The Internet Archive is a great go-to if you want access to historical and academic books, like an electrical engineer’s pocketbook from 1918 and cookbooks from across the world.

5. BookBoon

BookBoon is ideal if you’re looking for e-books of the educational textbook or business book variety.
Credit: BookBoon

Searching for a particular educational textbook or business book? BookBoon may have what you’re looking for, from Advanced Communication Skills to An Introduction to Business and Business Planning. The site offers more than 1,000 free e-books, it’s easy to navigate and best of all, you don’t have to register to download them.

6. ManyBooks.net

ManyBooks.net has all you could want for your Kindles, iPads and other e-readers.
Credit: ManyBooks.net

With more than 29,000 free e-books at your fingertips, you’re bound to find one that interests you here. You have the option to browse by most popular titles, recent reviews, authors, titles, genres, languages, and more to find books written by Agatha Christie and Tamara Grantham. These books are compatible for Kindles, iPads and most e-readers.

7. Free eBooks

A plethora of free book downloads await — everything from self-improvement e-books to poetry downloads.
Credit: free ebooks

From romance to mystery to education, this website is a good source for all sorts of free e-books. When you’re making a selection, you can go through reviews and ratings for each book. If you’re looking for a site wide variety of books in various categories, one that can serve you The Real Law Of Attraction Code, Blockchain Secrets, and Poetry in Spoken Word in the same breath, check out this site.

8. LibriVox

LibriVox is the ideal free e-book choice if you prefer an audiobook to a physical copy.
Credit: LibriVox

Want to listen to books instead? LibriVox is home to thousands of free audiobooks, including classics, out-of-print books, and historical texts, like all of the State of the Union Addresses by United States Presidents.

9. PDF Books World

PDF Books World has a massive collection of the PDF versions of all the classics you want.
Credit: PDF Books World

Thanks to public domain, you can access PDF versions of all the classics you’ve always wanted to read in PDF Books World’s enormous digital library, from The Great Gatsby by Francis Scott Fitzgerald and The Call Of The Wild by Jack London. Literature, plays, poetry, and non-fiction texts are all available for you to download at your leisure.

10. Feedbooks

If you’re looking for free public domain books, try Feedbooks.
Credit: feedbooks

Similar to PDF Books World, Feedbooks allows those that sign up for an account to download a multitude of free e-books — from Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad to The Scarlet Plague by Jack London — that have become accessible via public domain, and therefore cost you nothing to access. Just make sure that when you’re on Feedbooks’ site you head to the “Public Domain” tab to avoid its collection of “premium” books only available for purchase.

11. International Digital Children’s Library

The University of Maryland’s International Digital Children’s Library is a great place to look for younger readers.
Credit: International Digital Children’s Library

If you’re having a hard time finding a good children’s book amidst the many free classics available online, you might want to check out the International Digital Children’s Library. Here, you can find award-winning books that range in length and reading levels, from Aesop’s fables to Tales of passed times by Mother Goose, with morals. There’s also a wide selection of languages available, with everything from English to Farsi.

12. Check your local library

You can get some downloadable e-books through your local library, or an online library like Libby, which requires that you have an actual library card to sign up. The drawbacks are clear: Libraries have a specific number of copies to lend, and if all copies are already checked out, you’ll have to wait your turn. And, like all other books you borrow from the library, you can’t hold onto the e-book forever. But if you want a recently released book, this could be your best bet.

This story was originally published in 2014 and updated in 2021.

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