A wide variety of ebooks are available online for free, legally I should add, if only you know where to look for them.
While printed books have an inimitable charm, you can’t deny or ignore the appeal and convenience of ebooks either. We spend a major chunk of our day staring at glowing screens for work and leisure. It’s a great idea to devote some of that time to the joys of reading and utilize the interesting selection of books available for free at our fingertips. Project Gutenberg (our guide) is a fine place to start, as are a few other sites that we have covered in the past and then here are three more interesting ones listed below.
TowerBabel is not strictly a site for reading, and reading is not really the primary focus of the website; collaborative writing and publishing is. That said, the site offers a fair-sized and ever-expanding collection of fictional and non-fictional work for readers, wrapped up in an inviting interface.
The books are not limited to out-of-copyright works. Thanks to the publishing opportunities provided by TowerBabel, many writers and bloggers, both professional and amateur, put up their work on the site, all of which you can access for free. Filter ebooks by title, author, or categories, and when you find something interesting, dive right in. There’s no signup required unless you want to rate or review a book, or publish an ebook yourself.
In past articles, we have mentioned NoiseTrade as a source of free music albums. Did you know that the site also hosts free ebooks? It is a community-building effort to put authors/publishers and readers in touch with each other. Some of the ebooks are available for free in their entirety, while others appear as sample chapters.
By sharing your email address and postal code, you can download ebooks from various genres, in PDF/ePub/Mobi format, and even embed them on your website. In return, you get the opportunity to discover the work of contemporary authors, and even support them by leaving tips and sharing their books via social media. The option to contact the authors directly is a smart feature. It has the power to create meaningful relationships between authors and readers, which is what NoiseTrade is mainly about. The site also has free audiobooks for download.
We had introduced you to ReadPrint with a short feature overview a few years ago. The site’s approach to ebooks is also community-driven, as we have seen in the case of TowerBabel and NoiseTrade. Plays, essays, poetry, short stories, novels — they are all available for reading on ReadPrint. Paid ebooks are listed alongside the free ones, with a link to the corresponding Amazon page.
If you’re familiar with Goodreads, you’ll find some similar features on ReadPrint, such as the option to create and maintain your own bookshelf, rate and review books, create groups, join forums, get recommendations, and browse quotes. The added advantage is that ReadPrint is not limited to cataloging, as Goodreads is, and allows you to read books online.
The site is free to use, and does not require registration if all you want to do is read. If I had to describe ReadPrint in one sentence, I’d call it a cross between Goodreads and Project Gutenberg.
Devour Them All!
Reading opens up a whole new world of emotion, experience, knowledge, and understanding. It can quickly turn addictive, albeit in a good way. Books make it easy to visit faraway lands and to learn anything from the comfort of your couch or wherever else you happen to be at any given moment. What’s more, with zero-dollar offerings from websites like the ones above, you don’t have to worry about whether you’ll be able to afford the books. A portable digital device with free ebook software and a bit of time on your hands is all you need to indulge in the pleasure of reading.
In keeping with the subject of the article, it’s time for a tiny reminder here. When you’re looking for ebooks related to tech or digital media, be sure to explore MakeUseOf’s free eBook section, where you’re bound to find some useful answers.
Do you know of any other websites that offer free ebooks (on the up and up, of course)? List them in the comments.