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Being a bibliophile can be a very expensive habit, and if you’re finding that your quest for story and knowledge is eating a hole through your wallet, there’s hope from the world of eBooks. There’s a host of free eBooks out there – you just have to know where to look.
Some unscrupulous sites steal books that are under copyright and offer them for free. When looking for free ebooks make sure that the book is actually open-source. Otherwise, you’re taking money out of the author’s pocket and writing a book is hard work for which they deserve to be paid.
Without further ado, here are our top recommendations for where to begin your hunt for your next eBook on the cheap.
There’s a little bit of everything here, and you most certainly learn a lot about the patterns of your society by examining the current top 100 books. For example, you’ll learn that books with bare-chested cowboys on the cover seem to have quite the following.
A lot more is present here than just that however, and if you’re looking for something from a company you already have a login for, the Apple Book Store is there.
You can find literally just about anything here, and I’ve found it’s particularly useful for hard-to-find, older titles that have long since gone out of print. Archive started back in 1996, and currently has somewhere around 28 million books and texts within their system.
They now scan 3500 new books into their system every single day, and you’re virtually guaranteed to find what it is you’re looking for here. I enjoy using it for out-of-print farm books from the 1800s. Nobody else out there even comes close to having that kind of content.
If you’re specifically looking to delve hard into the sci-fi and fantasy scene, Baen Books is worth your while. Like most other sites for free ebooks, Baen does offer ebooks to buy, but they also have a free ebook library you can peruse with a couple hundred options to choose from.
They’ve been around for quite some time, and a lot of the sci-fi lit community spends some serious time there (e.g. Michael Z. Williamson), so if that’s what you’re after, this can be a great place to start your search.
This site is pretty cool. If you grow tired of wasting time looking for something to read rather than actually reading, BookBub can help. They have a pretty good algorithm which can help you to determine what books are out there you may be willing to spend time on.
Once you find an author you like, you’ll receive email notifications of whenever they have new product out, and you’ll also receive ebooks in your inbox. All in all, it’s a pretty cool site you’ll enjoy.
A little bit of everything is here.
Emphasis on the ‘little bit’. It’s really not a lot, and mostly indie pub as well. Consider the free science fiction section at Book Cave. At the moment, there’s 13 products available there for your reading pleasure. Compare that to Archive.org, or just about anywhere else and there’s no comparison whatsoever. You’re not going to find any classics here either, just indie pub.
So this may be a good place to explore new authors you’re looking to support, but there are most certainly more comprehensive options out there.
You can get free ebooks even via your Amazon account with Kindle. Well, via a subscription service, anyway. You have to first subscribe to Kindle Unlimited (currently $9.99/month), and then you can read as much as you want.
There’s a pretty large collection of everything in here as well. If it’s on Amazon, there’s a high probability it’s on here. I have noticed that there is a massive amount of indie pub on here as well.
That’s not a bad thing, but it may not be what you’re looking for. That being said, the indie pub here that is free often has thousands of positive reviews, so you know you’re not going to be wasting your time.
You can find about 800 free eBooks here, and they’re all from really old authors. This is where you may want to turn if you’re searching for books written by the likes of Homer, Aristotle, or Sir Francis Bacon. They do have some Ray Bradbury and other more recent authors as well, but the eBooks you’re going to find here are largely considered the “classics” of modern day thought.
If you’re looking for something educational for a home school program and don’t want to have to sift through thousands of pages of indie pub, this is where you’re going to want to turn.
Started back in 1971, Project Gutenberg is a massive repository of older texts. Anything which is considered a classic, and the rest of the older books which are not, are going to be present here. Seldom will you ever find anything which is newer, however.
This is where I would look for authors such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Alexis de Tocqueville, or Chaucer, just to give you an idea of what you’re going to find.
This is the bread and butter of a lot of new authors who are trying to get their name out there. While there are paid options as well, Smashwords does have free eBooks. If we hold our sci-fi test up to Smashbooks, we find that there are quite a few here that we can pick up for free along with several others where we choose the price.
Out of all the free eBooks sites, particularly for indie pub, Smashwords is one of the ones that I appreciate the most. It’s not that the other sites are bad, it’s just that they don’t have the name for themselves that Smashwords does.
Ipso Finis (but not of free eBooks)
One of the great things about the internet is that it literally puts the world’s information right at your fingertips. Any hobby you may have, the internet has information on. Regardless of whether you enjoy spending time carving, gardening, knitting, making soup, watching sci-fi movies, or blacksmithing – if you’re looking for eBooks on the subject, you can find them.
Fiction, history, how-to’s – you name it – you can find it in eBook form online. Hopefully, the above list of sites will help your bibliophilic tendencies to not cause you to have to get a second mortgage on your home, proving of some benefit.
What are your thoughts though? Are there other sites you enjoy that we missed? How have your experiences been with the above? Let us know in the comments below!
Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com. Along with being a freelance writer, he also works part-time on his micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has two published books, The Faithful Prepper and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.