17 Best Sites to Download Free Books in 2020

Love to read? Then you'll love these places to find free books

Ever thought of creating a library with thousands of free books? You'd never have to spend a dime. It sounds impossible, but it's not!

Free books, on nearly any subject you can think of, are all over the internet, ready to be downloaded, read, and shared. With all the free books you can get online, all that's left to do is speed up your reading so that you have enough time to get through them all!

Someone reading an ebook in front of a fireplace
 Lifewire / Miguel Co

A huge quantity of books previously unavailable to the public were released to the public starting in 2019, thanks to the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998. Because of an amendment to that act, works published between 1923 and 1977 can enter the public domain 95 years after their creation. Many of the sites listed below give access to the tens of thousands of books (plus movies, songs, and cartoons) available under this act. Downloads should be free and without retribution under U.S. copyright law.

These are the 19 best sites with free books that cover a wide variety of subjects, anything from romance novels to computer technology manuals.

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ManyBooks horror books
What we like
  • Selection includes more than just classics and Creative Commons books

  • Great categorization makes finding what you love easier

What we don't like
  • Some areas haven't been updated in more than a year

ManyBooks is one of the best resources on the web for free books in a variety of download formats. There are hundreds of books here, in all sorts of interesting genres, and they're each completely free.

One of the best features of ManyBooks is that not all of the books are classics, so if you're not into those kinds of books, this site is a good alternative to others in this list.

Unlike some free book sites, this one lets you browse free books by language. You can also do so by author and genre. The ManyBooks Articles page is another handy way to browse their collection, with articles such as Books Like Hatchet and book reviews.

When you're ready to download a book from this site, you have to log in to your user account (it's free), where you're then given several download options. You can get these books in formats such as EPUB, MOBI, PDF, FB2, RTF, HTML, and more. They're also readable online through their built-in book reader.

One easy way to stay updated with new ManyBooks titles is through their RSS feed.

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Free Computer Books

Free Computer Books

Every computer subject and programming language you can think of is represented at Free Computer Books. There are free textbooks, extensive lecture notes, and more.

Some of the genres of free books include computer and programming languages, computer science, data science, computer engineering, Java, and networking and communications. Among those and other topics are subgenres for an easy way to find the book you're after.

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Librivox free book downloads

Librivox is a dream come true for audiobook lovers, but there are also eBooks. All the titles here are absolutely free, which is good news for those of us who have had to pony up ridiculously high fees for substandard audiobooks.

Librivox has many volunteers that work to release quality recordings of classic books. If you've been looking for a great place to find free audio books, Librivox is a good place to start.

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Authorama free book library

Authorama features a nice selection of free books written in HTML and XHTML, which basically means that they're in an easily readable format. Most books here are featured in English, but there are quite a few German language texts as well.

Books are organized alphabetically by the author’s last name. Authorama offers a good selection of free books from a variety of authors, both current and classic.

Authorama offers up a good selection of high-quality, free books that you can read right in your browser. These are books in the public domain, which means that they are freely accessible and allowed to be distributed; in other words, you don't need to worry if you're looking at something illegal here.

This free book site is really simple to use, but maybe too simple. The search box is really basic and the only other way to find books is by scrolling through the author list.

However, you don't need a user account to read these books online, and they're all formatted nicely.

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Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg latest free eBooks

Project Gutenberg is one of the largest sources for free books on the web, with over 60,000 downloadable free books available in a wide variety of formats.

Project Gutenberg is the oldest (and quite possibly the largest) library on the web, with literally thousands free books available for download. The vast majority of books at Project Gutenberg are released in English, but there are other languages available.

If you already know what you are looking for, search the database by author name, title, language, or subjects. You can also check out the top 100 list to see what other people have been downloading.

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International Children's Digital Library

International Children's Digital Library

Browse through a wide selection of high quality free books for children at International Children's Digital Library (ICDL). These are scans of physical books, so each page is a separate image that you can scroll through online to read.

Check out Simple Search to get a big picture of how this library is organized: by age, book cover color, length of book, genre, and more.

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Read Print

Read Print non-fiction books
What we like
  • Easy to search

  • Free account grants access to the community and a personal page with a virtual "bookshelf"

  • Comprehensive quotation database

  • Offers lots of ways to find free books

What we don't like
  • Only has classic books and those with Creative Commons licenses

  • No way to download free books directly from the site

  • The site can be slow and/or unresponsive

Read Print is an online library of thousands of free books. These are classics, under the Creative Commons license, that include nonfiction, essays, fiction, plays, and poetry. 

Free registration isn't required but lets you track what you've read and what you would like to read, write reviews of books you've read, add books to your favorites, and join online book clubs or discussion lists.

There are several ways you can find what you're looking for at Read Print, such as by keyword search for a title or author, type of work (e.g., essays, plays, non-fiction), list of top books that are being read online, and the author index.

For example, if you're looking for books by William Shakespeare, a simple search will turn up all his works.

Once you've found a book you're interested in, use the Read Online button to launch the book in your browser. You also have the option to Launch Reading Mode if you're not fond of the website's other reading interface.

If you find a book you really like and you'd like to download it to your e-reader, phone, or tablet, Read Print provides links to Amazon, where you can download a title for free if you're a member of Kindle Unlimited.

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Archive.org's eBooks and Texts

Internet Archive free eBooks and other texts

From the Internet Archive at Archive.org, eBooks and Texts is a library of fiction, popular books, children's books, historical texts, and academic books. The free books on this site span every possible interest.

You can sort these books by view count to see the most popular ones, as well as by title or date published. Another way to find free books to read here is through collections such as California Digital Library, Getty Research Institute, and Boston Public Library.

There are usually several download options if you don't want to read the book online, such as PDF, EPUB, and Kindle.

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Questia's library of free books

Questia has long been a favorite choice of librarians and scholars for research help. They also offer a world-class library of free books filled with classics, rarities, and textbooks.

More than 5,000 free books are available here, categorized by topic and viewable from their website.

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Wikisource home page

Wikisource is an online library of user-submitted and maintained content. While you won't technically find books on this site, there are still hundreds of thousands of pieces of content available to read, some that have been converted into an eBook form.

The Wikisource Index page is a good place to browse the options. You can find something to read by author, genre, era, topic, award, and more.

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Wikibooks home page

​Wikibooks is an open collection of mostly textbooks. Subjects range from computer and engineering to science, humanities, languages, and more.

Every book has a list of contents and other information to give you a solid idea of what the book is about. The best way to read these books is to download them with the PDF option.

The Featured Books and Stacks/Departments pages are good places to start if you're not sure what to browse for.

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Open Library

Open Library free fantasy books

Open Library is a search tool that pulls data from Internet Archive. You might use it if Archive.org (listed above) isn't helping you find the right book.

You can search hundreds of thousands of books here, and most are in multiple formats such as PDF, ePub, Daisy, and DjVu.

You can search for eBooks specifically by checking the Ebooks option after running a search.

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Sacred Texts

Internet Sacred Text Archive

Sacred Texts contains the web’s largest collection of free books about religion, mythology, folklore, and the esoteric in general.

You can view a list of all the books by title or author, as well a browse by category or search for a book name, author, or subject. There's even a random button if you're unsure what to look for.

Every book is available online from their website. You can save each page if you want an offline version.

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Featured SlideShares

Slideshare is another site that has both free and paid books. It's an online forum where anyone can upload a digital presentation on any subject. Millions of people utilize SlideShare for research, sharing ideas, and learning about new technologies.

SlideShare supports documents and PDF files, all available as free downloads. You have to log in to download these books, but registration is free or you can use LinkedIn.

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free-ebooks.net romance books

Free-eBooks.net offers a wonderfully diverse variety of free books, ranging from fiction and non-fiction to textbooks, academic text, classics, and more. Some of the subcategories include advertising, parenting, humor, science, engineering, self teaching, sci-fi classics, and poems.

You have to register for a free user account to use this site, but only five books are free, so choose wisely.

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The Online Books Page

The Online Books Page

The Online Books Page, maintained by the University of Pennsylvania, lists over three million free books available for download in dozens of different formats. The site itself is pretty boring, but the long list of titles might make you a repeat visitor.

You can browse these free book downloads by new listings, author, title, subject, or serial. There's also a search tool where you can find books by running a partial author or title search.

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Scribd bestselling books

Scribd offers a fascinating collection of all kinds of reading materials: books, audiobooks, documents, sheet music, magazines, and more, all organized by category. This is one of the web’s largest sources of published content, with literally millions of documents published every month.

However, Scribd is only free for 30 days. Unlike these other sites with free books, you have to pay for Scribd every month after the trial to continue using it. The membership grants you access to the site's entire database.

Additional Resources for Free Books

In addition to the sites referenced above, there are also the following resources for free books:

  • FreeTechBooks: Just as the name would suggest, this website provides free technology-related books.
  • FullBooks.com: Organized alphabetically are tons of other free books you can read online.
  • Free Kindle Books: Our list of the best places to get free Kindle book downloads.