Summer’s here and that’s always a good time to catch up on your reading. Have you read all of the classics? Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, War and Peace – just to name a few! Many of these classics are available free to download from the Internet. Which means you don’t even have to go to the library! Below are some great collections of free classics and out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books. Note that the large collections of older free e-books are typically created from scanned copies of physical books and can have variable quality.
http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page – Project Gutenberg was the first producer of free electronic books, or eBooks. Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg, invented eBooks in 1971 and continues to inspire the creation of eBooks and related technologies. Project Gutenberg offers over 36,000 free high quality ebooks to download to your PC, Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Android or other portable device. Choose between ePub, Kindle, HTML and simple text formats. The books were all digitized and diligently proofed with the help of thousands of volunteers. Search for a title or browse the bookshelves by topic. Also, be sure to read the article: “No Cost or Freedom? What does ‘free ebook’ mean?”
http://www.archive.org/details/texts – The Internet Archive, a non-profit project dedicated to offering permanent access to historical collections that exist in digital format, provides over 2.5 million free ebooks to read, download, and enjoy. Search for a title or browse one of the sub-collections like American Libraries or Children’s Library (catch up on those children’s classics you missed as a kid!). Additional collections include Science Fiction and Fantasy. Read the books online or click a link on the left side of the page to download the files to your computer.
http://openlibrary.org – Open Library’s goal is to provide a page on the web for every book ever published. They also have over 1,000,000 free ebook titles available. Search for a title and make sure to check the “Only show eBooks” checkbox. Open Library is a project of the non-profit Internet Archive, and has been funded in part by a grant from the California State Library and the Kahle/Austin Foundation.
http://www.manybooks.net – ManyBooks provides free ebooks for your PDA, iPod or eBook Reader. There are over 26,000 ebooks available here and they’re all free! Search by author, title, or genre; or check out the most popular titles and recent reviews. You can even can browse by Library of Congress categories: http://www.manybooks.net/locc/, and you’re sure to find something of interest in the Special Collections: http://www.manybooks.net/collections .
http://www.planetebook.com – Planet eBook publishes a small assortment of classic novels and books in electronic form. The books are all in the public domain so they are entirely free for you to download and share with family, friends, students, anyone! You’re welcome to print them out for classes and courses, distribute them on CD/DVDs, offer them for download from your website, and so on – you can share them however you like, as long as you don’t charge money for them. These are all high-quality classic reprints produced with Nitro PDF Professional and Adobe InDesign for the ebook design.
http://www.amazon.com/s/?node=2245146011 – The Amazon Kindle Store provides limited time promotional offers and thousands of the most popular classics for free with wireless delivery in under 60 seconds to your Kindle, computer, or other mobile device. With over 900,000 titles, the Kindle Store contains the largest selection of the ebooks people want to read. In addition to free classics, they carry instantly downloadable versions of New York Times® Best Sellers and new releases from $9.99.
Have you seen another great collection of free ebooks on the web? Let us know!