Libraries might be closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but if you have access to the internet, you still have access to free e-books.
You don’t even need an e-reader to access them, as we detail in “This Trick Lets You Read E-Books Without an E-Reader.” You just need to know where to find them.
We’ve rounded up numerous websites that offer tens of thousands of free e-books, covering virtually every book genre and every reader age.
1. The National Emergency Library
The Internet Archive recently created a National Emergency Library by suspending its waiting lists for the 1.4 million books in its lending library, citing schools and libraries shutting down across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The nonprofit organization explains in a blog post:
“During the waitlist suspension, users will be able to borrow books from the National Emergency Library without joining a waitlist, ensuring that students will have access to assigned readings and library materials that the Internet Archive has digitized for the remainder of the US academic calendar, and that people who cannot physically access their local libraries because of closure or self-quarantine can continue to read and thrive during this time of crisis, keeping themselves and others safe.”
2. Your local library’s website
Many brick-and-mortar libraries allow their members to borrow e-books, as we detail in “Don’t Pay for These 10 Things: They Are Free With a Library Card.”
Check your local library system’s website to see if it offers this option.
Note, however, that Amazon says free books sometimes vary in quality or don’t support all Kindle reading features. The company recommends first checking out reviews and ratings for free books you’re considering downloading.
4. Barnes & Noble
To explore the offerings, click on any of the many genres listed under “Subjects” on the left side of the page.
6. Google Play
The Google Play store includes a “Top Free” collection offering a sampling of freebies.
7. Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg describes itself as the first provider of free e-books and now offers more than 60,000 free titles.
Its website explains:
“You will find the world’s great literature here, with focus on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired. Thousands of volunteers digitized and diligently proofread the eBooks, for enjoyment and education.”
To start exploring the Project Gutenberg website, try the:
- Search page
- Most-frequently downloaded books
- Top 100 authors over the past month or over the past week
ManyBooks offers discounted and free e-books, with more than 50,000 free titles. There is some overlap with Project Gutenberg’s offerings, although ManyBooks’ website is arguably more user-friendly.
9. Sesame Street
The “Free eBooks of the Week” page on the Sesame Street website offers a few free children’s titles each week.
You can’t download them, but you can flip through them right from the website.
10. University of Chicago Press
The “Free E-book!” page on the University of Chicago Press website offers one free title each month.
IntechOpen considers itself the world’s leading publisher of open-access books. Its focus is scientific publications.
To check out the offerings, visit the books pages.
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