This guide covers where and how to obtain free e-books of
Many TeleRead community members are curious. We try to pass on the best new freebies whenever we hear about them. Here’s a post headlined Download free e-books, audiobooks, comics and other goodies for your tablet, e-reader or phone: A Freebies 101 ‘how to’. From time to time, TeleRead will add to the freebies page you’re on now, so our update posts in the main area of the blog don’t just whiz by.
In an age of so many books, coming up with a comprehensive list seems futile. At best, any compilation of free e-books will reflect the idiosyncratic tastes of whoever compiled the list, and people have questions about whether something as important as literature should be given away for free. There’s also the question of what an e-book actually is—whether a website or Flash interface can serve as a book, for instance, and whether or not to include titles available only in a certain format. For now, we’ll leave aside these questions and simply make notes when appropriate.
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RECENTLY-DISCOVERED BOOKS & RESOURCES (Last updated on Nov. 21, 2015)
Foner Books’ List of Free Sci Fi / Fantasy Kindle eBooks. “There are different kinds of “free” on Amazon. The first kind of free on Amazon are the out-of-copyright classics that form permanent collection. The second kind of free includes books that publishers are promoting by making them free for a few days (five maximum) in a 90 day period. The third kind of free includes books that Amazon is giving away due to price matching, ie, the publisher is offering the book free elsewhere. In all cases, when the book is free, neither the publisher, author nor Amazon make any money.”
Free sci-fi online—from Arthur C. Clarke to Ursula Le Guin and Jerry Pournelle and countless others. Actually this is a 2007 TeleRead post, just rediscovered.
PDFBooksWorld.Com offers more than 1,200 free classics and other e-books in PDF format. Free users have a daily download limit of two books.
Foboko allows you to download five free e-books per month. Their platform also enables you to write and publish your own e-book for free, and to promote it to their online community.
Action Philosphers! by Fred Van Lente (Author) and Ryan Dunlavey (Illustrator) [PDF]
This is a 36-page preview of the Action Philosophers! comic book
Col. Harland Sanders: The Autobiography of the Original Celebrity Chef
This decades-old autobiography of the legendary KFC founder includes a mini-cookbook. You’ll need to be logged onto Facebook in order to download the file. [PDF]
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FREE E-BOOK BLOGS
• Finding Free E-books Online (RSS) is a great blog of recent free ebooks, with an emphasis on new titles. Some titles mentioned on this blog are free only for a limited time, so be careful. The blogger (whose first name is Christine) also publishes a conventional book review blog. One nice thing is that the posts contain specific information about format and web presentation.
• E-books Just published (New Release RSS) is Mark Gladding’s wonderful blog which allows indie authors to announce their recent works. Although most of the new releases are available for reasonable prices (usually less than $5), this blog has a separate category for free ebook titles
• On the U. Penn Women Writes site there is a listing of the latest releases around the Net (alas, no rss). Mainly academic & public domain titles.
• OpenCulture offers links not only to free e-books but also to audio books and textbooks, among other items.
• Free Literature is a huge collection of links to free ebooks and to digitized library sites. Covers literature, poetry, music, classical Greek and Latin, audiobooks and more. Sites are collected from all over the world and in many languages.
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FREE E-BOOK DISTRIBUTION SITES
• Google Books bills itself as “the world’s most comprehensive index of full-text books.” The catch is that this is an index to a great extent as far as freebies. You may see Google reference a book—but then find it is not available for free. It may not even be online.
• Project Gutenberg search pdb, html, txt. The later additions have well-formatted single html versions with graphics. As long as you can do HTML to ebook conversions, this remains the most complete source.
• The Internet Archive may have the largest selection of free classics, along other freebies It isn’t the easiest site to use. But it is worth the effort.
• Mobileread’s E-book uploads is the best place for well-formatted ebooks in .prc, .lrf and .pdf. Generally, the formatting is wonderful, and uploaders often provide updates in case of mistakes/problems. Despite the growing community of uploaders, the selection is still somewhat scanty (except the most well-known titles). Still, good to check here first. Their reader recommendation forum contains lots of free titles. Their Deals & Freebies forum let people give information about recent freebies. Also, on their wiki the MR free e-books page contains many of the same links listed here.
• American Verse Project—lots of well-formatted poetry books. You can view in a single HTML page for easy conversion to pdf/prc, lrf, etc.
• Manybooks.net: multiple formats, all free. Significantly, the catalog contains a list of RSS feeds by category to make it easier to keep track of what’s been added recently. RSS feeds include: Creative Commons, Sci fi, Short Stories,
• Wowio contains ad-supported PDF e-books. Includes lots of comic titles and alternative press. Registration is required.
• Baen Free Library contains lots of sci fi titles by about 30 authors. They were one of the first to offer free titles.
• Tony Kline’s translation of classical texts. This one-man site consists of Kline’s translations of many famous works, plus downloads in HTML, PDF and .DOC. Also some PD British lit and original poetry by Kline himself. Contains translations from Latin, Greek, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian. Spanish. This site utterly astonishes me!
• List of various sources of free e-books and online books, at Techsupportalert. Lots of overlap with stuff on this list.
• Creative Commons Wiki contains links to CC-licensed books/e-books. Lot of titles are also found on mobileread, manybooks, etc..
• Online Prize-winning books from the 1920’s and 1930’s, HTML only. Collected by University of Pennsylvania.
• Celebration of Women Writers has lots of digitalized books (rendered as html with images). Here’s an index by author and a listing of the latest releases (alas, no rss but a blog about recent releases)
• Southern DocSouth literary collection. Interesting collection of public domain literary and history documents from the Southern part of USA. Badly organized, but markup is both TEI and HTML, plus images. Very nice!
• Starry’s Free Online Novels contains about 25 free novels. An eclectic mix, with a lot of sci fi.
• Book View Cafe is a consortium of over twenty professional authors with extensive publishing credits in the print world. Every day, new content available nowhere else will be served up on Book View Cafe: short stories, flash fiction, poetry, episodes of serialized novels, and maybe even a podcast now and then.
• FriedBeef’s Tech has an article on the 7 Best Places to Download Free Textbooks.
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FREE CHILDREN’S LITERATURE E-BOOKS
There are a lot of good free children’s books on the Web, just not in e-book formats. Usually you have to do your own conversions.
• Children’s Literature Bookshelf (PG) lists many of the best works from the Gutenberg collection.
• University of Pennsylvania’s Digital Library has digitalized 15 or so Newberry Award winners and posted the HTML.
• International Children’s Digital Library has lots of online titles, but are probably impossible to convert to ebooks. Books for kids tend to rely on unusual layout and design, and e-books fail miserably at that.
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Free E-books #1: January 26, 2008
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Almost all e-book sites contain free chapters/samples of their e-book offerings. Generally, there is no need to list them here. But these are worth looking at:
• Daily Lit Book Sampler. Sends out 5 minute chunk of books via email or RSS feed. Public domain is free, and so are introductory chapters, then you have to pay.
• Smashwords is a commercial e-book distributor for indie authors, but a surprising percentage of titles are either free or pay-what-you-want. At the moment, no separate feed for free titles.
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E-BOOK CONVERSION TOOLS
For those want to convert existing content themselves
• Calibre converts things to epub format and works with Kindles and other popular devices. (Read the manual). Most notably, it contains lots of prepackaged recipes for downloading famous publications (New Yorker, New York Review of Books, Economist, etc) as well as special interest RSS feeds (XKCD). Be forewarned: the lead developer has been fixing lots of bugs and updating the software frequently, so you’ll be downloading updates every week or so. (Read the Calibre help forums)
• Ecub is a free tool that lets you import HTML/XHTML files and spit out EPUB and Mobipocket books.
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