Browse millions of e-books, for free
From classics to comic books, billions of words and images are yours for the reading.
These days it doesn't matter how close you live to a library or bookstore. If you've got an e-reader, laptop, tablet or smartphone, millions of e-books are as portable as paperbacks.
The choices are no longer limited to fusty old classics you were forced to read in high school. From autobiographies to westerns, the Internet's virtual bookshelves are crammed with new and recently published reads.
Where to start?
More than 1 million classic titles (now in the public domain) are available at sites such as:
- Google Play (formerly Google Books): More than 4 million titles, at least half of which are free
- ManyBooks.net: More than 29,000 titles
- Open Library: More than 1 million books
- Project Gutenberg: More than 39,000 titles
Interested in more recent publications? Sharon Vaknin, an editor at the tech media site Cnet.com, advises going to the Kindle or Barnes & Noble online bookstores and typing "0.00" in the search bar. Up will pop free mysteries, children's stories, Christian fiction, romance, erotica and other genres.
Vaknin also spotlights a couple of other ways to borrow (and lend):
- Public libraries: "Ancient as they may seem, libraries are on trend and offer e-books using a service called Overdrive. Here's how to use the service (although the tutorial is intended for Nook owners, the same process applies to Kindle)."
- BookLending.com: Any "lending-enabled" Kindle book can be loaned one time for up to 14 days. This site matches borrowers and lenders.
- eBookFling.com: Another sharing site.
I'd like to re-emphasize public libraries. According to a Pew Research Center report, 58% of all U.S. library-card holders don't know whether their libraries have e-books. More than 75% of libraries do, according to PublicLibraries.com, and 39% lend out e-readers for free.
Search by subject
A superb resource is the Gizmo's Freeware site, which recently updated its "471 places for free e-books online." It has both an alphabetized list of providers and available e-books sorted by genres like autobiography, horror, romance, travel, young adult/teen and math.
The article also includes a list of 100 places for free audio books online. Wow. (Post continues after video.)
Myself, I love turning actual pages instead of virtual ones. Yet I can't deny the brilliance of the e-reader. You can carry multiple books without weighing down a bag or suitcase. E-books provide library access to shut-ins and those who live in remote areas. They let us indulge in "disposable" reads (kids’ chapter books, light romance, et al) without feeling guilty about all the paper that's being used.
I admit that I've never read an e-book. However, my daughter recently gave me her old tablet -- and it came with a "Pride and Prejudice" download. I'll get the hang of this newfangled idea yet.
Readers: Do you use e-books? Got a favorite site for free (and legal) downloads?
More from MSN Money:
My mom hasn't been feeling well lately, and she is so happy to checkout books from the library from her couch. Likewise, my library's location isn't the most convenient. I never bothered to get a library card in the 5 years I've lived here until they got Overdrive.
I do still like turning pages too, but when I'm traveling my e-reader is a wonderful space-saver. I also have the kindle reader on my phone, so when I'm waiting at the doctor's office I can read something other than those old magazines.
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