E-books have been around for a very long time, though modern E Ink devices like the Kindle and Nook have brought this electronic literature to more than just a few geeks with PDAs. I remember reading e-books on a Handspring Visor, perhaps one of the closest things to an iPod touch back in the early 2000s.
E-books have enabled people access to a library without the bulk of the actual books. Binding and paper can be very heavy, especially in mass. Today, I can hold pretty much my entire library in a device that fits in the smallest pocket of my laptop bag.
So how do you get books for free? There are a number of ways to do this such as taking part in the Kindle Lending Library or visiting your local library, though this is really just a loan. If you want to add the book to your actual e-book library, you may want to check out one or more of these resources.
Scribd is one of those sites that makes documents of any and every type available to to the public. You can find Microsoft Office templates, government documents, puzzles, historic speeches, and even books.
Books are available in a variety of ways. In some cases, you’ll find an entire cover-to-cover copy of a book available for download in PDF and embedding on whatever site you wish. Other titles may include the first chapter alone, or an entire text without the option to download. In any case, it’s a great place to look for a good book if even just to see a preview before actually making a purchase.
OBOOKO (standing for Online Book Offline) is an English site dedicated to allowing new and established authors to self-publish and promote their books, free of charge. The goal of the site being to allow writers to introduce themselves to the world and receive important feedback from readers.
OBOOKO requires you to sign up (it’s free) in order to verify that you’re over 13 years of age as some of the books are intended for a mature audience. Once signed in, you can download e-books in PDF format which can be easily imported into a Kindle or Nook.
Unlike some other free book sources, many of the works featured on OBOOKO are recently written.
If general reading isn’t your forte, perhaps a library dedicated to the free distribution of Christian literature might appeal to you?
Enter the NTSlibrary, a leading online Christian study resource center. An entire section of its site is dedicated to PDF books, allowing you to download to your heart’s content. You don’t need to log in or subscribe to anything. Just browse the library and download PDFs to your heart’s content.
Featuring over 38,000 free e-books (with over 100,00 available through affiliates), Project Gutenberg is one of the best known sources of free literature on the Web. It features only works previously offered by major publishers, and each book is available for direct download in a variety of formats including: HTML, EPUB (with or without images), Kindle (with or without images), Plucker, and a plain text document formatted in UTF-8.
Granted, the vast majority of these books are out of copyright because they’re quite old. You’re not going to find the latest Dean Koontz novel here, but you will be able to download some historic scientific lectures or a copy of Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days.
This may not be a virtual library of sorts, but it is one of the more popular tools out there for converting just about any document into an e-book format. One of the biggest problems with e-books today is that the file formats are often fragmented and you don’t always have the right format for your particular device. Calibre solves this problem, and it does so absolutely free.
In addition to conversion, Calibre also manages your library, acting as a sort of iTunes for e-books. As far as free software goes, this is one of the better ones.
Sometimes, you don’t have time to sit down and read an entire book. You may prefer to read something over time, but can’t always remember to take a break and do so.
Enter DailyLit, a free resource of online literature and an alternative method of receiving this written work. Instead of downloading a single PDF or EPUB document, you’ll receive an email every day with a small portion of the actual book. This allows you to read a chapter during your morning email checks rather than having to remember to do it later. In splitting a larger text up into smaller parts, you also benefit from not being overwhelmed with what appears to be a gigantic literary undertaking.
You can also opt to have these sections delivered by way of RSS, allowing you to read a little of a book every day during your news feed reading.
The majority of the books made available on DailyLit are classic, with modern books being available either free or on a pay-per-read basis. On paid works, you can still receive samples for free while deciding whether or not you wish to pay for the experience.
Free-eBooks.net is a great source for free e-books from new authors hoping to get the word out about their work. Not every book in the collection is a masterpiece, though you will find a few gems in the list from time to time. One of the most popular books on the site is Dimension Shifter by T.M. Nielson.
What I like most about this site is how easy it is to find the right file format to download and get started. You do have to be a VIP member to access the mobile formats, though the freely available PDFs are still compatible with the majority of e-readers out there.