So what if you have an extensive library on your Amazon Kindle? Who cares if you have a bunch of iBooks downloaded to your iPad? Some of the best novels can be found using just your Internet browser, and the best part is that you’ve probably never heard of them before.
So don your sans-prescription dark-rimmed glasses, and put on your impractical-yet-fashionable summer scarf. MakeUseOf is about to get hipster with a whole bunch of indie novels that you can read for free online.
As a basic link list, Online Novels does not provide a sexy, decked-out, graphically-oriented website. However, it does exhibit quite a few novels with very detailed and articulate descriptions of each one.
Despite Online Novels’ vintage HTML that is so ironic, it offers some quality material for you to scroll through. Most authors have their own home-pages, so you can even check out their other material.
Most of the books that you will find here are free, and they can typically be read using just your browser. There are even a few short stories and poems if you just want a quick read.
In addition to the in-browser novels, there are actually some titles available directly from authors for your Amazon Kindle. Granted, if you can’t pay out for these, you could always just use your parents’ credit card in true hipster fashion.
Booksie is a community for aspiring writers to publish their work one chapter at a time. This site is a little more user-friendly than its Online Novels counterpart, and it also offers free audiobooks, PDFs, and eBooks.
(Please note, if you want to use your desktop to read the cleaner eBook versions, you should try out Koobits.)
Writers use Booksie with the intent of getting their work read by the world. You can do your part and join the fun as a reader of novels while they are released piece by piece. The site really focuses on the in-progress work of a book, so you actually see it develop in episodic chapters (a la Great Expectations by Charles Dickens).
This site is great for having something new to read, but if your imagination palate craves something light, Booksie also has a wide variety of poems and short stories to choose from.
However, if you aren’t big on fan-fiction, you should be warned that there are a few of them here, but generally speaking, the site has its share of good literature.
The work found on Booksie might not be of the best quality, seeing that it is written by authors who put fingers on the keyboard in their spare time, but the nice part of this is that each piece comes directly from the original creator and is completely untouched by the hands of a market-minded agent or publisher. Read with an open mind, and you just might be able to appreciate some of it.
As previously mentioned in MakeUseOf directory, WeBook is like the Texas cage-fighting match of online literature. The premise of the entire site is that authors submit their work, let you read it, and as it gains popularity (by your votes), it will eventually reach an agent who can get it published… and make it mainstream.
While this site was initially developed for authors just trying to catch a break, it provides totally free content for those who want to sit back with a cup of Earl Grey and enter someone else’s mind for a little while. However, if you are an author, you have to pay a one-time submission fee.
Each book is run through a gauntlet of three rounds that are all part of a process called “PagetoFame”. Authors start out with a single page submission for the first round, get voted up to a five pages round, and after that, they go on to the final fifty pages round.
If the book-in-the-making gets past these three rounds, it goes on to the Literary Showcase where agents can take a gander at it.
You’ll primarily only be reading parts of unfinished books via WeBook, but when one finally makes it as a New York Times bestseller, you can tell everyone you know, “I read that chapter before it was even published.”
So maybe these sites aren’t going to make you a hipster, but they are going to give you a look at some fresh reading material by a few unheard-of authors. This just goes to show you that you don’t always have to depend on the publishing houses to tell you what to read.
What are some good pieces of work that you have found using these sites? Would you recommend them? Also, what other sites have you found where you can read books for free online?