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Download Free Books: The Top 20 Websites

Create your own free library!

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Ever thought of creating a library with thousands of books, and never spending a dime? Sounds impossible, but it's not! Freely available books in nearly any subject you can think of abound on the Web, ready to be read, downloaded, and shared. Here are the top twenty sites where you can find a wide variety of completely free books, anything from romance novels to computer technology manuals.

  • ReadPrint.com: ReadPrint offers thousands of free books, including novels, poems, fiction, nonfiction, essays, and plays. They were voted one of Time magazine’s best 50 websites in 2010, and for good reason: the site is easy to navigate, and there are over 8000 books here to download for free. The front page offers several different ways to find books, but my personal favorite is browsing through the list of Top Authors; notable picks include Louisa May Alcott, Rudyard Kipling, and Jack London.
  • ManyBooks.net: Check out the most popular titles, special collections, or browse through some covers to see what interests you. ManyBooks offers over 29,000 free ebooks in a wide range of categories, from Adventure to Young Readers. Browse through the most popular downloads, recommendations, and special collections.
  • The Literature Network: This site is organized alphabetically by author. Click on any author's name, and you'll see a biography, related links and articles, quizzes, and forums. Most of the literature here is free; some downloads require a small fee.
  • Free Computer Books: Every computer subject and programming language you can think of is represented here. Free books and textbooks, as well as extensive lecture notes, are available.
  • Librivox.org: Librivox is a dream come true for audiobook lovers. All the books here are absolutely free, which is good news for those of us who have had to pony up ridiculously high fees for substandard audiobooks. Librivox has many volunteers that work to release quality recordings of classic books, all free for anyone to download. If you've been looking for a great place to find free audio books, Librivox is a good place to start.
  • Authorama.com: Authorama features a nice selection of books written in HTML and XHTML, which basically means that they are in easily readable format. Most books here are featured in English, but there are quite a few German language texts as well. Books are organized alphabetically by the author’s last name. Authorama offers a good selection of free books from a variety of authors, both current and classic.
  • Project Gutenberg: Project Gutenberg is one of the largest sources for free books on the Web, with over 30,000 free downloadable ebooks available in a wide variety of formats. Project Gutenberg is the oldest (and quite possibly the largest) library on the Web, with literally hundreds of thousands books available for free download. The vast majority of books at Project Gutenberg are released in English, but there are other languages available. If you already know what you are looking for, search the database by author name, title, language, or subjects. You can also check out the top 100 list to see what other people have been downloading.
  • Scribd offers a fascination collection of all kinds of reading materials: presentations, textbooks, popular reading, and much more, all organized by topic. Scribd is one of the Web’s largest sources of published content, with literally millions of documents published every month.
  • International Digital Children's Library: Browse through a wide selection of high quality children's literature here. Check out Simple Search to get a big picture of how this library is organized: by age, reading level, length of book, genres, and more.
  • Ebooks and Text Archives: From the Internet Archive; a library of fiction, popular books, children's books, historical texts and academic books.
  • World Public Library: Technically, the World Public Library is NOT free. But for a measly 8.95 a year, you can gain access to hundreds of thousands of books in over one hundred different languages. They also have over one hundred different special collections ranging from American Lit to Western Philosophy. Worth a look. They also have what they call a Give Away Page, which is over two hundred of their most popular titles, audio books, technical books,a and books made into movies. Give the freebies a try, and if you really like their service, then you can choose to become a member and get the whole collection.
  • Questia Public Library: Questia has long been a favorite choice of librarians and scholars for research help. They also offer a world-class library of free books filled with classics, rarities, and textbooks. More than 5000 books are available for download here, alphabetized both by title and by author.
  • Wikisource: Online library of user-submitted and maintained content. At the time of this writing, over 200,000 pieces of content are available to read.
  • Wikibooks: Wikibooks is an open collection of (mostly) textbooks. Subjects range from Computing to Languages to Science; you can see all that Wikibooks has to offer in Books by Subject. Be sure to check out the Featured Books section, which highlights books that the Wikibooks community at large believes to be “the best of what Wikibooks has to offer, and should inspire people to improve the quality of other books”.
  • Bibliomania: Bibliomania gives readers over 2000 free classics, including literature book notes, author bios, book summaries, and study guides. Books are presented in chapter format.
  • The Open Library: There are over one million books here, all free, all available in PDF, ePub, Daisy, DjVu and ASCII text. You can search for ebooks specifically by checking the "show only ebooks" box under the main search box. Once you've found an ebook, you will see that it will be available in a variety of formats.
  • Sacred Texts: Sacred Texts contains the Web’s largest collection of free books about religion, mythology, folklore and the esoteric in general.
  • Free eBooks: Free eBooks offers a wonderfully diverse variety of books, ranging from Advertising to Health to Web Design. Standard memberships (yes, you do have to register in order to download anything, but it only takes a minute) are free and allow members to access unlimited eBooks in HTML, but only five books every month in the PDF and TXT formats. A VIP membership here gives you unlimited access to any book you want, in any format.
  • Slideshare: Slideshare is an online forum where anyone can upload a digital presentation on any subject. Millions of people utilize SlideShare for research, sharing ideas, and learning about new technologies. SlideShare supports documents and PDF files, and all these are available for free download (after free registration).
  • The Online Books Page: Maintained by the University of Pennsylvania, this page lists over one MILLION free books free available for download in dozens of different formats.
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