How to catch up with free e-books, audiobooks, comics and other goodies to feed your Android phone, iPhone, iPad, Kindle e-reader, Kobo reader, $50 Amazon Fire tablet, or other device?
Start with TeleRead’s listing of sources of free books. From there you can go on to 800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices, on the Open Culture blog. OC can also point you to free audio books and even 725 Free Movies Online: Great Classics, Indies, Noir, Westerns, etc. As for direct sources of free e-books and other great freebies, consider:
Your local public library
Alas, there’s often an interminable waiting list for the most popular modern titles in electronic format at public libraries, assuming they’re available at all. How to improve matters? One difference between TeleRead and other e-book blogs is that we’ve been calling since the 1990s for the creation of well-stocked national digital libraries in the U.S. and elsewhere. We love to stand up for library patrons’ educational and recreational needs. And we’re more passionate than ever following the release of a new U.K. study showing the value of e-books as literacy promoters.
Check out a guide we’ve published: How to get the most out of library ebooks via the right gadget, text to speech, and otherwise. We’re not a free book site per se. But we certainly want to help you get the most of what’s out there elsewhere, in libraries, on public domain sites and in other places.
The Archive offers not only books but also other media and may be the most comprehensive source of free material. You can download books directly in Kindle/Mobi format, not just ePub or PDF. No need for conversion. Here are some download pointers, even if some of the information is obsolete. In a nutshell, you type archive.org into the Web brower of your Kindle or other device, search for the book or other goody, reach a related page, then click on the download link or Mobi or ePub or whatever format you prefer.
Unfortunately Kindles cannot read ePub due to Amazon’s stubborn resistance to the industry standard format.
This commercial site offers beautifully formatted public domain classics, as well as some modern books licensed under Creative Commons arrangements. Here is the public domain section. Not all the classics are free.
PG is another happy hunting ground for Kindle owners and others and offers tens of thousands of freebies. It’s the oldest public domain site online, just as TeleRead is the world’s oldest general-interest news and views site on e-books and related topics.
Both are commercial like Feedbooks but also committed to use of “free” to build goodwill and get you accustomed to downloading. Also consider ManyBooks.
Aldiko is free from Google Play, as well as the Apple apps store (paid version for Android here). Aldiko is a good option for phone owners using Feedbooks, which owns the app. It’s seamlessly integrated with Feed.
My very favorite reader for these purposes, however, is the Android-only Moon+ Reader Pro, now on sale for just $2.49 (free version here). Moon offers text speech. Also, it lets you call up e-books directly from some prominent public domain sites, among others.
Grab this bargain now to add to your enjoyment from Feedbooks and other sites (you may have to update Feeds’ OPDS address within Moon’s Network Books menu: http://www.feedbooks.com/catalog.atom)! No connection with Moon—I just like what they’re up to. And, yes, you can get Moon running on your $50 Fire even without installing the Google Play Store. The same concept will almost surely work with Aldiko and other good alternatives such as Mantano, another well-down Android/iOS possibility capable of text to speech
This is a prominent source of free audiobooks, especially of the classics. Find everything here from Pride and Prejudice to Moby Dick. Think about related audio apps as well from the Apple and Android stores. Just type the keyword LibriVox into the appropriate app store.
We describe them in a TeleRead post headlined Free audios of novelized ‘Blade Runner,’ ‘The Terminator,’ ‘Videodrome,’ ‘ET’ and other films.
Other audio book-related sites
Think about Learn Out Loud (educational audiobooks) and Lit2Go (K-12 oriented; please note the site was not loading well today but keep trying). Use the Librophile search engine to uncover more audiobooks and e-books.
Unite for Literacy offers free audio-enhanced e-books for young children.
The Noise Trade site
Enjoy for free music as well as free-ebooks and audio books (“tipping” encouraged).
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Whether you’re a novice or an old-timer, what are you own recommendations for freebie sources? Please limit recs to those from legal sites, as opposed to those offering pirated versions of works still under copyright. Yes, we’re keen on fair treatment of writers and publishers, and our digital library vision calls for fair compensation.
Tip: Check out the related proposal for a national digital library endowment. As published in Education Week in collaboration with a tech-and-literacy-hip librarian named Jim Duncan, the plan drew 103 Likes from teachers and others. Tell your local libraries about the proposal. It would strengthen, not replace, local public libraries. Librarians could stock paper books, but the more they relied on E, the more time they would have for outreach and interaction with patrons. The plan calls for the hiring and professional development of digital-savvy librarian—not just for more money for e-books and gadgets and the like.
Initiatives in areas such as family literacy require well-trained humans, a point lost on people incapable of seeing the picture as a well. The proposal even calls for the creation of cell phone book clubs (which could encourage reading on all kinds of platforms—not just phones).
Related: Another perspective on freebies, from The Digital Reader, including mentions of free comic sites (thanks to Nate for broaching the freebie topic anew—one very dear to us over the years). Public libraries are a good place to start. But in line with TDR’s recs, also consider such sites as Dark Horse, DriveThru Comics, the Internet Archive and The Digital Comic Museum.