Many people are turning from traditional paper-based books to e-readers these days, and though the demand for printed books might be lessening somewhat, folks are certainly not reading any less! If anything, the ability to download e-books has made it easier for many people to feed their voracious reading habits.
Note: regardless of whether you’re reading e-books on a Kindle, Kobo, Nook, tablet, or even a laptop, you should get a copy of Calibre E-book Management software (a free download): it helps to manage and file all of your e-books, and can convert files to the format that your particular device needs to display everything properly.
This site has thousands of titles to choose from in just about any genre imaginable, and if you don’t mind wading through some truly horrendous book cover design, you can find some real treasures. Most of their books are by independent, self-published authors, and they also have titles in Hindi, Tamil, and Marathi.
2. EReader IQ
Daily free e-books are the main feature on this site, and there are some spectacular titles to choose from, including a large number of children’s books and young adult novels. The format is specific to Kindle though, so unless you have a conversion program, you might be out of luck if you’re using a different e-reader.
The website might not be terribly impressive or polished, but they have an extensive selection of books ranging from reference materials to fiction novels. You can find some absolute gems on this site, but be aware that you may come across some broken links on occasion: please report them if and when you do.
If you’re in need of something new to read but aren’t quite sure what you’d like, you can go through the most popular titles and recommendations on this site and read reviews from those who have stopped by before you: maybe you’ll find something brilliant to delve into. There are over 21,000 titles on this site, and they can be downloaded for iPods, PDAs, and e-book readers.
Baen, a free e-book library specifically for sci-fi/fantasy novels, is unique in that all of the books that are available there have been uploaded (or approved for upload) by authors themselves. This is done in the hope that if people enjoy the work they’ve read for free, they will either contribute what they can, or buy print versions of the books.
6. Free E-Books
This site requires you to create an account in order to access their library, but registration is free, and you then have the ability to download as many e-books, magazines, and academic papers as you like. Be forewarned that the vast majority of books on there are self-published, so although you may find the occasional well-written novel on the site, there’s also a lot of dross to sort through.
If you’re looking for e-books on computer languages, web design/programming, or any number of specific programs, this is one of the best places for free resources that you can find online.
A great venue for self-published authors, Scribd gives people the opportunity to upload their own work, and download books by other authors. There’s a small catch: not all the books are free. You can read free excerpts of some novels and then purchase them in their entirety for a nominal fee, but rest assured that there are many spectacular titles available for no charge whatsoever.
This is the place you want to visit if you’re in love with classics. Works by Arthur Conan Doyle, the Brontë sisters, Jane Austen, Tolstoy, and Victor Hugo are just a few of the fabulous reads you can download free of charge here.
A great site with a wide array of read-ables, Daily Free E-books will also send you free reading materials in your genre(s) of choice. It also provides you with an app that can convert the Kindle format to suit whichever device you’re using.
11. Ereader Love
The majority of books on this site are in the sci-fi/fantasy and romance genres, but there are little gems to be found in the other sections as well. Young adult readers may find some unique stories to dive into, and there are a few hundred mystery and horror novels to plough through too.
This site deals specifically with older books such as classic novels and reference materials, and are free in the United States because their copyright has expired. Gutenberg has over 42,000 free e-books available, so even the most voracious reader will have plenty of material to chew through.
Over 400,000 titles reside on the Booksie website, and all can be downloaded for free. They’re all self-published books, so be aware that the content will vary as far as quality is concerned. They do have a large selection of decent children’s books available, so your literary little ones will have plenty of content to enjoy.
14. Barnes and Noble
For U.S. readers who use the Nook for their e-books, Barnes and Noble has an extensive collection of free materials to download. Now, by “extensive collection” I mean nearly 2 million titles, so you can go hog wild on this site if you’re up for it.
Hundreds of free e-books are available on this site, with subjects ranging from African-American studies to Zoroastrianism. Take your pick and download away.
Amazon keeps an updated list of hundreds of free ebooks in their “Top 100 Free” section, as well as from their limited time free ebook section.
Consider this “Project Gutenberg”, but for the younger crowd: all the classic books on this site are geared towards the 12-and-under crowd, with titles ranging from Aesop’s fables to faerie tales, mythology, history, and spiritual stories.
18. Google Books
Last, but certainly not least, Google Books allows you to search for the title, genre, author, or keyword that you’re most interested in so you can delve into bookish glee without having to shell out any cash.
Many libraries around the world are now loaning e-books as well as printed copies, so look up your area’s local library website to see if they offer this service.
When you go to Amazon.com (or any of its international sites), click on the Kindle tab, go to e-books, and then search for the word “free”. Just keep in mind that e-books downloaded from Amazon cannot be read on a competitor’s e-reader, so Nooks and Kobos are incompatible. You can, however, read Kindle e-books on your computer, smartphone, tablet, iPad, or any other device; you just need the Kindle App in order to do so.