5 Sites With Truly Free eBooks

Free ebook sites are so common now that they are not just a dime a dozen, they’re a dime a gross. All of the major ebook stores have free ebooks, and you can find even more free (and legal) sites with a simple Google search.

But sometimes I need a site that has ebooks worth reading, doesn’t have DRM, and doesn’t require an account. And that’s why I put together this list of I go to when I need reading material and am in a hurry.

Feedbooks

logo_feedbooks[1]Feedbooks is by no means the biggest free ebook site and it’s not the easiest to navigate, but it comes first in my list because the ebooks are well-formatted and are available in Epub, Kindle, and PDF. It’s nice to have that last option because there have been times where I was using a device which did not have a reading app other than Adobe Reader. (Yes, it does happen.)

Also, Feedbooks has a mobile site, and that makes it a lot easier to download ebooks to the tablet I want to read them on.

Baen Free Library

Baen_logo_small_color[1]The Baen Free Library isn’t nearly as big as it was back before Baen Books started distributing ebooks to the Kindle Store and elsewhere, but it’s still a good source of mil-SF.

And if you have time, you might want to also check out Fifth Imperium. This site hosts copies of the CDs which Baen sometimes bundles into first edition hardbacks. They only have the CD images to download, so that site doesn’t fit the requirements of this post.

Smashwords

smashwords_logoSmashwords is widely known as an ebook distributor, but they also have an ebook store with a lot of free original content.

Thanks to a recent update, this site is mobile-friendly. It also offers a wide variety of formats and does not require that you register before you download.

ManyBooks.net

Manybooks - logoThis is one of the original free ebook sites, and it’s been around since long before the Amazon launched the Kindle in 2007. It pretty much only has public domain titles, and the last time I checked they were reasonably well formatted.

Project Gutenberg – Australia

project gutenberg australiaI’m sure everyone who has read an ebook knows about Project Gutenberg, but fewer people know about the a similar site based in Australia (there’s one in Canada, too).

PG Australia made this list because it complements ManyBooks.net. The sites work under 2 different sets of copyright laws, and that means there are titles that one site can legally upload that cannot be found on the other site.

6 thoughts on “5 Sites With Truly Free eBooks

  1. Feedbooks is my favorite, if they happen to have a particular public domain title, because the formatting of their free books is generally so good. They serve about the only PD books I find anywhere that don’t need surgery before being readable.

  2. Thanks for the suggestions. New sources of free-books are always appreciated!

    One trick I use when researching a particular topic is to google for the subject + epub (or pdf). For example, to look for e-books on or in Esperanto, I would search for
    Esperanto epub
    or
    Esperanto pdf
    or
    Esperanto ebooks

    That often turns up e-books on the sites of individuals or groups, which are not available through the usual e-book websites.

  3. This is a great list, Nate, and includes many of my favorites. As an avid science fiction and fantasy fan, I’d like to make a couple of comments. As you’ve noted, the Baen Free Library still contains some great books but has been dramatically reduced in size. All of the Baen Free CD’s are still available online, including the Cryoburn CD which has been removed from some of the hosting sites at the request of author Lois Mc Master Bujold who apparently misunderstood the terms of the license and became upset that so much of her work was being distributed for free. As a courtesy, many of the hosting sites removed it but were not legally required to do so and several still have it. The one major change in all of the hosting sites, as far as I know, is that you can no longer download individual books. You must download the entire zipped cd image and extract the individual books. Here’s what Fifth Imperium says about this change “Effective January 5, 2013, this CD index has had its book links removed in compliance with a request by Baen. The individual books are no longer available for direct download. If you want one or more of the books on this CD, please go to the site home page and download the CD ISO or zipped CD contents. The individual files are no longer hosted on this server, so please do hunt for them.”

    The Cryoburn CD containing most of Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan stories is no longer available at Fifth Imperium, however it is still available from other sources (such as http://hell.pl/szymon/Baen/ )and is still legal to download.

    Another of my favorite sources for free, legal SF&F is: http://www.freesfonline.de/RecommendedStories.html

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