If you're an avid reader or audiobook listener, you've probably explored Amazon and similar sites for your next great read. However, did you know there's a treasure trove of free books available at your fingertips?
While there are dedicated e-readers, the associated costs of purchasing books through their platforms can get pricey. The good news is that the following websites are great places where bookworms can find and download ebooks — and even audiobooks — for absolutely free. If you're missing the library vibe, several of these sites allow users to borrow digital titles, just like you would at your local public library.
Of course, clicking on a link that promises free products online can sometimes feel risky. However, rest assured that every site mentioned in this list has been verified to genuinely provide free ebooks or audiobooks in various file formats. Additionally, these sites are user-friendly and completely legal for downloading content — after all, nothing is worse than clicking on a free link only to receive a free virus or a DMCA violation.
Modern technology has made it easier than ever to read a wide range of books and grow your digital library without breaking the bank. Here are eight of the best websites to find and download ebooks for free.
For free physical books, you turn to your local library. For free ebooks, the solution is OverDrive, a digital library platform offering patrons access to a vast collection at no cost.
Overdrive is a system used by public libraries around the world. It makes it easy for you to find the books you're looking for and download them directly to your Kindle or device, completely free of charge. The system works just like a library. To sign up, simply input your local library account information and then select which books you want to check out. The books are then downloaded directly to your device for a set duration, usually about two weeks. When it's time to return the book, the lending license expires and is automatically made unavailable so that the next person can download it.
While OverDrive provides a convenient and legal avenue to access fresh ebooks outside the public domain, there is a limitation to note. Due to copyright restrictions, each ebook has a set number of licenses available for lending. This means that, at times, you might encounter a waitlist for popular titles. The system ensures copyright compliance, preventing unlimited duplications of a single ebook. So, while OverDrive offers an exceptional free and legal resource for the latest reads, you just may have to wait in line for really popular titles.
Internet Archive: Open Library
Have you ever considered the monumental task of archiving the entire internet? While it may seem impossible, that's exactly what the Internet Archive is attempting. Founded in 1996 during the rise of public internet access, the Internet Archive: Open Library is an online library and repository whose mission is to archive as much of the digital world as possible, including websites, music, and ebooks.
The Internet Archive is the largest repository of historic website data with snapshots dating back to 1996 that capture the evolution of websites over time. You could spend hours reliving the '90s internet in the Wayback Machine. The site's digital library has an impressive collection of both public domain titles and copyrighted works shared with appropriate permissions. All content on their platform is accessible to the public at no cost.
The site hosts millions of books and different texts that are freely available for download, making it one of the easiest places to find free ebooks online.
Google Play Books
Google Play Books is another easy way to fill your digital shelves with paid and free ebooks. The app is incredibly intuitive, making it easy to store and organize your digital library by genre, series, or any other criteria. If you do end up purchasing a book, it stays with your account forever, granting access to it on any of your devices. The app also has a massive library of free ebooks that anyone can access with their Google account.
It may take a bit of looking and adjusting filters in their store, but Google Play Books has over 10 million free ebooks available for download. There's no cost or subscription fee. Users can simply browse through the listings and choose the ones they want to appear in their Google Library.
Many of the titles for free are public domain works that are free from copyright laws. This category includes timeless classics and favorites such as the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. However, the free offerings don't stop at the classics. Google Play Books also showcases an extensive list of contemporary works that have been submitted by authors or requested to be made publicly available.
From acclaimed New York Times best-selling authors to budding literary talents, Google Play Books has something for everyone. You can also take advantage of their occasional promotions, where you can snag modern titles at a steal or even for free.
BookBub isn't a library or an ebook repository, but signing up for an account will definitely help you find ebooks for cheap — and occasionally even for free. When major platforms like Google Play host flash sales or offer ebooks at reduced prices, BookBub monitors the retailers and sends out alerts to subscribers.
Upon registering with BookBub, users can specify their literary preferences by genre or book type. That way, whenever a deal aligns with your reading tastes, BookBub promptly notifies you about the discounted price and the corresponding retailer. This makes BookBub an easy way to fill up your hard drive with free and legally downloaded ebooks.
Beyond mere alerts, BookBub fosters a vibrant community of avid readers. The platform encourages user-generated content, including book recommendations tailored to your favorites. For instance, if you're a fan of "The Lord of the Rings," fellow users might suggest diving into "The Wheel of Time" series. It's a friendly community of book lovers, and most are more than happy to chat about their favorites.
Drawing from its Latin roots, Libri (books) and Vox (voice), LibriVox is a vast repository that offers a plethora of free audiobooks to the public.
Largely, the collection at LibriVox contains public domain works, making it less likely to offer contemporary titles. The platform's main mission is to ensure audiobooks are available to anyone with an internet connection. This is a daunting task since audiobooks typically require extensive production and drastically increase the price of a book. However, LibriVox manages to offer them at no cost, thanks to the dedication of volunteers who record the books. These volunteers range from ardent fans of the literature to professionals, ensuring a rich and immersive listening experience.
For those who prefer a synchronized reading experience, LibriVox often provides links to the exact text referenced during the audio recording, consolidating the search for both ebooks and audiobooks. The platform's admirable mission has significantly expanded public access to literary works. For those inspired by the cause, LibriVox welcomes new voices, offering an opportunity to volunteer and contribute to their ever-growing collection.
Initially established in France, Feedbooks has grown into a globally-recognized digital library and publisher. It works similarly to Google Play Books in that it offers a wide range of ebooks, both paid and free.
On Feedbooks, users can easily access thousands of free ebooks, either through their user-friendly app or their online platform. Once a book is downloaded, it remains in the user's account, available for direct reading via the app. Additionally, like other online book retailers, Feedbooks periodically offers special deals and flash sales, giving opportunities to get books at substantial discounts or entirely for free.
What sets Feedbooks apart is that they don't specifically cater to English text. While many platforms provide ebooks in various languages, Feedbooks prioritizes offering a wide linguistic range. This includes, but isn't limited to, French, Ukrainian, and Spanish. Furthermore, to cater to diverse reading preferences, their ebooks are available in formats compatible with Android, Kindle, and Apple devices.
Manybooks began as a platform to help fledgling authors publish their works and gain a following. It has since evolved into a comprehensive repository for ebooks. All of the books on the site are completely free and legal to download.
While Manybooks collection includes a wide range of public domain works, the best part is how the site helps to promote new authors. It is used as a starting point for authors to publicize their books, get feedback from readers, and start to build an audience. Many authors will post the first book in a series for free as a strategy to engage readers and solicit feedback. This approach paves the way for readers to discover lesser-known yet talented writers.
Using Manybooks is very easy, thanks to its intuitive interface. Users can easily filter their searches by genre or explore unique combinations. It's a great way to explore works that you may not otherwise find. Beyond its free library, Manybooks also curates newsletters and author spotlights to aid subscribers in finding interesting reads.
Established in 1971, Project Gutenberg has been a pioneering force in the free distribution of ebooks to the public. Its enduring mission is "To encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks."
Named after the Gutenberg press, its founder, Michael Hart, envisioned the computer's important role in storing and spreading information, particularly books and literature. He recognized that once digitized, information could be endlessly replicated and shared, enriching society through free access.
Today, Project Gutenberg offers thousands of public domain works and legally submitted content for download within the United States. For those outside the US, it's crucial to check your nation's copyright laws before downloading.
Beyond ebooks in various formats, Project Gutenberg also provides a diverse range of audiobooks. This collection includes both human-narrated audiobooks by volunteers and voice actors, as well as AI-generated readings, offering users a broad spectrum of listening experiences that might otherwise not be available.