When e-readers first started to become popular, a lot of us imagined that e-books would be cheaper than regular books. After all, publishers don’t have to pay for all that ink and paper and binding to publish an e-book! Unfortunately, many e-books are just as expensive as their paper counterparts. But if you don’t have a big e-book budget, don’t despair—there are lots of e-books online that you can download for free! You can borrow e-books from your local library, as Bill has explained here, or you can visit the sites in the list below and download e-books to keep.
Project Gutenberg is usually my first stop when looking for any older book. It specializes in books whose copyrights have expired. Some of the books are also available in multiple languages, so it’s worth checking out even if English isn’t your first language. If you just want to browse, click on the Book Categories link, and decide what kind of book you’re in the mood for.
They’ve also recently created the Project Gutenberg Self-Publishing Press, where current authors can post their work. You won’t usually find famous authors there, but you might find some good books by new authors.
Many Books also offers mostly older books. This site is a little more user-friendly than Gutenberg because it uses more detailed categories. Many Books also lets you select a language and see all the books available in that language. This site has an incredible selection of old-ish science fiction and mysteries, so it’s my first stop for those. It also has a Creative Commons section, which has free books by current authors.
Pixel of Ink
Maybe by now you’re thinking, what if I just don’t want to read old books? Never fear; some websites offer books that aren’t ancient! Pixel of Ink is the one I use. This site basically tracks the list of free Kindle books that Amazon offers and posts when new ones are added. In addition to tracking free books, it also tracks paid books that have gotten cheaper. I haven’t found similar sites for iBooks, Nook, or Kobo books, so try this next website to get new books for those readers.
Smashwords is similar to Gutenberg’s self-publishing site, but it’s been around for longer and has more books available. In order to download full books, you’ll first need to create a free account. All of the books are recent, but not all the books are free, so check the price before you download!
MakeUseOf is the only site on this list that isn’t primarily about e-books, but if you’re looking for a book to help you upgrade your technology skills, check out their e-books section. They have e-books on anything from podcasting to iPhones to Windows 8, and the books are useful and easy to read. MakeUseOf is mainly a technology blog, so if you’re interested in new apps for iOS and Andriod, check out their homepage.
There are many places to find free e-books online, but these sites are my favorites.