Friday, January 13, 2012

Free eBook Sources

Perhaps you are one of the lucky ones who received an eBook reader or other gadget for Christmas.  Perhaps you are an early adopter and already have one or use your computer to the same effect.  Maybe you are waiting to check out an eBook Reader from the library before you make a decision (Kindles coming soon!).  No matter which camp you are in, the library's eBook collection has been surging in popularity. 

But wait!  The library is not the only source of free eBooks.  Below is a brief list of places on the web where you can find free eBooks in a variety of formats.  Many of the sites offer public domain (out-of-copyright) works, so frequently you have a great deal of choice in which edition and which site to download those from.  Enjoy! has a large selection of free titles, both books in the public domain and new books that are special offers from publishers.  For public domain books, search by title or visit the Kindle Popular Classics collection.  For free new books, the best place to check is the Best Sellers in Kindle Store Top 100 Free list.  These are in the .azw format, which can be read on a Kindle or through one of the various free Kindle apps.

Barnes and Noble has similar freebies on their website, with both publishers' special offers and free classics.  These are in the .epub format, which can be read on a Nook, though the Nook app, or on a reader which supports epub files by using Adobe Digital Editions.

Baen Books, a publisher of science fiction and fantasy, has a selection of free eBooks in many formats.  Their Free Library aims to offer the first in a series when available.

Girlebooks is a good resource for classic and contemporary ebooks by female writers. Girlebooks ebooks are hand-crafted and professionally formatted into multiple ebook formats to accommodate most ereaders, & most titles are free. All of their ebooks, even the ones in the ebook store, are DRM free (no digital rights management). This means that once you download the ebook, it is yours forever no matter what ereader you use to read it.

Digital Book Index has a large catalog of (mostly) free academic and scholarly eBooks in many formats.  This is a great resource for primary sources.  The catalog pulls results from many different contributors and shows format availability. 

Inkmesh is an eBook search engine.  It has links to free promotional books for the Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony and others.  It also allows you to search for a title (both eBook and eAudiobook) and compare prices at different websites.  Since most prices are set by the publisher, this may not be as helpful as it seems, though occasionally a special can be found.

Lastly is the biggie, Project Gutenberg.  This is the site to go to for out-of-print works, with more than 36,000 available.  Project Gutenberg titles can be read by almost any device available.  For more information on how to transfer them to your device, see these directions.


Louise said...

Thanks Carrie for this great list. I have a Kindle and I am always looking for free books. I would add Freebooksy ( to your list - they post a free ebook every day on their blog. Hope it helps.

Scott, ABCLS Staff Member said...

It's always worth visiting Project Gutenberg; browsing is a perspective-shifting delight. They also have a handy Latest Books feature, so you can pop in and see what has been added. And new titles are steadily added, much of the work done by volunteers. PG is also working toward facilitating distribution of eBooks by contemporary authors. A wonderful resource!