writers resources

14 Websites to Read Free Digital Books

booksIn honor of Read Across America Day–March 2nd 2018, also Dr. Seuss’ birthday–I’m sharing fourteen websites where you can find a wide variety of free digital books. For us addicted readers, we know that the cost of the ereaders that curate our ebooks is minor compared to the cost of what we are reading. The books of many best-selling authors cost just as much if you purchase them digitally as print though there is no cost of paper, machinery, distribution, shelf space–all that. Still, I am getting used to digital books and like them better for a lot of reasons–I can write on the pages without getting arrested, I can bring ten books in case I don’t like the first five, they are light-weight, the font can be enlarged (that’s a new appreciation as I get older).

But, it’s increasingly difficult to find affordable ebooks. Thankfully, the library now offers Kindles (or similar) with the digital book on it at no cost. I know over time, they’ll get a bigger selection but right now, they’re just getting into it. Here’s a list of free book sources I like:

Bookopolis

Bookopolis is a large collection of fiction and nonfiction books for ages 7-12. Here, students can read, get ideas for new books, comment on books, and earn badges and points to reflect their love of reading. Educators sign up with a Teacher account and then set up classes and accounts for students. Students can practice persuasive writing, comprehension, and typing skills by completing reviews, reports, and reading logs online. Parents can sign up home accounts to help students keep track of favorite books. Available books include Newbery Award Winners as well as many other reader collections. Kids can even watch book trailers before making a selection.

Books can be read online or on most mobile devices.

Class Literature

A free collection of the most popular public domain pieces in classic literature (Shakespeare, Jane Austen and more)

Great Books Online

By Bartleby. An extensive collection by the preeminent internet publisher of literature, reference and verse providing students, researchers and the intellectually curious with unlimited access to books and information on the web, free of charge.

Gutenberg Project

This site provides thousands of digitized books, audio recordings, DVDs/CDs from the public domain (or out-of-copyright). This includes Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Sherlock Holmes, A Tale of Two Cities, Heart of Darkness, and more. These are great for all ages to not only read but research topics that might have been well-covered years ago but not so much now (like primitive tribes).

You can read them online, on a mobile device, or download them.

International Children’s Digital Library

The ICDL offers over 4,600 digital children’s books in over 59 languages that exhibit tolerance and respect for diverse cultures, languages, and ideas. Books are made available from a variety of sources including the Library of Congress. Readers search by title, author, country, or category (or several other options such as ISBN). By setting up an account, readers can add tags to books and organize them according to their preference. Many ICDL books are classified as “activities” meaning they are perfect for digital story times, scavenger hunts, and creative writing exercises.

Most books are only available through the website or a link to the website.

Internet Archive

Internet Archive offers over 12,000,000 freely downloadable books and texts. There is also a collection of 550,000 modern eBooks that may be borrowed by anyone with a free archive.org account.

Librivox

Free public domain audio books that can be listened to on computers, iPods or other mobile devices, even burned onto a CD.

Loyal Books

Free public domain audiobooks and ebooks in many genres, for all ages

Many Books

Over 33,000 ebooks that can be browsed by language, author, title. 

My Books

My Books is an app that includes over 51,305 free books of various genres, even nonfiction. You canread online or download and read offline. There are also 5,199 audiobooks. 

Online Books Page

Listing over 2 million free books on the Web that can be searched by author, title, series, and keyword. They also offer news and other special features. 

Open Library

Open Library is a curated list of over 20 million books (and growing) that are available worldwide to all age groups whether from the public domain or under copyright protections. Once you find a book, you access a scanned version (if available, say from Project Gutenberg) or purchase it at a linked bookstore. 

Access this catalog via the website.

Read Any Book

A wide collection of genres included, for all ages.

World Cat

World Cat is a comprehensive curation of books, CDs, articles, videos, and more available at all libraries in a geographic area or around the world, for all age groups. This includes not only public libraries but colleges and universities. Once you’ve located a resource, you check it out from that local library. You can get help from a librarian, leave comments and reviews, even factual notes (much like Wikipedia). 

World Cat only includes libraries that have joined the World Cat group. 

–published first on Today’s Author

More on reading:

Forget Summer Reading. The Classics are Timeless

National Poetry Day

Unconventional Research Sites for Writers

My Research at the Library of Congress 


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the upcoming Born in a Treacherous Time. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

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74 thoughts on “14 Websites to Read Free Digital Books

  1. Pingback: What Authors Should Know About MS Sway | WordDreams...

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  3. Now, this is a post for me! I love reading, but reading free books? That’s a true WIN! Can’t wait to start scouring these websites for more awesome reading material. Thanks for the list!

    Like

  4. Pingback: 14 Websites to Read Free Digital Books — WordDreams… – newgencontent.hub

  5. Pingback: 14 Websites to Read Free Digital Books — WordDreams… – BinhTrinh

  6. Hi,I really appreciate, done great job,I’m working on my 2 small’s books, VCD, CD, about education for KG student, in French and English, thanks, I’m also a fashion designer from Ghana, thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a terrific list to have access to, though you know I don’t have an e-reader (yet)
    Still, I think children should be reading books, with pages to linger over and turn. It’s a different experience than a digital format. The format and structure of a book is different than a homogenized e-reader. Books engage the senses of young children in a way that e-readers can’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jacqui, this is an incredible list of free reading resources and I’d only heard of a couple of this. Thank you so much for the research and sharing – I’m bookmarking this! Hope you’re having a great weekend! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nice resource, Jacqui. As a former poor kid who got most of her books from the library, I feel that free books serve a real purpose. Making sure that folks can access reading materials no matter their economic circumstances is one of the things that gives me hope for a civilized society. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is a great list, thank you. I thought I recently read something about the Open Library and copyright infringement. Apparently it has some ebooks on there that weren’t in the public domain or authorized by the author/publisher? I’m not sure if that was just an isolated case or not. Maybe it was a different site than the one you listed. I’ll have to relook into it when I get a chance.

    Liked by 1 person

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