20 Best Sites to Download Free Books

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

Let reading take you away. Jose A Bernat Bacete/Moment/Getty

Ever thought of creating a library with thousands of books, and never spending a dime? Sounds impossible, but it's not! Free books on nearly any subject you can think of are all over the Web, ready to be read, downloaded, and shared. All you need to do is speed up your reading so you have enough time to get through all of them!

Here are the top 20 sites where you can find a wide variety of completely free books, anything from romance novels to computer technology manuals. 

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A screenshot of Read Print's homepage.

Read Print is a free online library where you can find thousands of free books to read for free online, from classics to science fiction to Shakespeare. Registration (it's free) at Read Print gives the user a virtual library card for a wide variety of books, as well as the ability to keep track of what you've read and what you'd like to read, discover new books you might like, and join online book clubs to discuss great works of literature.

There are several ways you can find what you're looking for at Read Print:

  • A keyword search for book titles, authors, or quotes.
  • Search by type of work published; i.e., essays, fiction, non-fiction, plays, etc.
  • View the top books to read online as per the Read Print community.
  • Browse the alphabetical author index.
  • Check out the top 250 most famous authors on Read Print.

Once you've found a book you're interested in, you can click "Read Online" and the book will open within your web browser. You can also write a review of the book, add it to your Read Print favorites, or recommend it to a friend.

In addition to an impressive array of free works of literature, Read Print also offers a comprehensive quotation database culled from authors on the site. You can search for quotes by individual author here, or, you can search by subject (Love, Friendship, Success, etc.).

All Read Print books are full-length and divided by chapter. You can read these books right inside your browser. If you are searching for a specific section of a book, each book page offers you the option of searching within the book's content.

If you find a book you really like and you'd like to download it to your mobile e-reader, you can do that too; Read Print provides links to every book they offer at Amazon, where the book can be instantly downloaded.

How to Find Books

Searching for books at Read Print is wonderfully simple. There are three ways you can find what you're looking for at Read Print:

  • By title (try entering it in the Read Print search box).
  • By author (they are all alphabetically ordered).
  • By checking out the Most Recently Added books on the Read Print front page.

The books are also divided by author, so if you'd like to go straight to the Shakespeare section, you can: all the Shakespeare works are divided by genre in one convenient place.

Why Should I Use Read Print to Find Books?

Read Print is one of the best resources you possibly use online to find free online books. There are new books added on a regular basis, and books and author information are extremely easy to find and read.

In addition, it's extremely convenient to be able to instantly call up a classic novel or other free, public domain literature within your web browser. Read Print makes finding free books easy and fun. More »

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ManyBooks is one of the best resources for free books in a variety of download formats that you can possibly find on the Web. There are hundreds of books available here, in all sorts of interesting genres, and all of them are completely free. If you're looking for free sources of great literature to fill up your e-reader, than ManyBooks is a good place to start. Thousands of books available here, from Beowulf to Anne of Green Gables to Walden.

How Can I Find Books Here?

ManyBooks makes it easy to find what you're looking for. You can search for books by:

  • Author
  • Title
  • Subject
  • Language
  • Most popular
  • Reader reviews
  • Recommendations

Plus, ManyBooks has put together collections of books that are an interesting way to explore topics in a more organized way, or you can check out the ManyBooks series page to get stories chronologically.

More Advanced Search Options:

In addition to the options I've already laid out for you, you can also use ManyBooks Advanced Search to pinpoint exactly what you're looking for. There's also the ManyBooks RSS feeds that can keep you up to date on a variety of new content, including: All New Titles By Language.

How Can I Download Books?

First, you'll need to choose which format you want to download your book in. Each book's page comes with a dropdown menu of dozens of different file formats, anything from a zip file to a PDF file to a format suitable for most any mobile device out on the market today. Once you've figured out your format, just click on the download button and you're off and running.

Why ManyBooks is a Good Place to Get Free Books:

With over 20,000 books available, ManyBooks is an excellent place to find free books, especially if you've been looking for a good site to build up your mobile book selection.  More »

The Literature Network

The Literature Network: This site is organized alphabetically by author. Click on any author's name, and you'll see a biography, related links and articles, quizzes, and forums. Most of the literature here is free; some downloads require a small fee. More »

Free Computer Books

Free Computer Books: Every computer subject and programming language you can think of is represented here. Free books and textbooks, as well as extensive lecture notes, are available. More »

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 Librivox.org is a dream come true for audiobook lovers. All the books 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, all free for anyone to download. If you've been looking for a great place to find free audio books, Librivox is a good place to start. More »

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 Authorama.com features a nice selection of books written in HTML and XHTML, which basically means that they are in 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 free, high-quality books that you can read right in your browser or print out for later. These books are 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.

How Do I find Books to Read Here?

Authorama is a very simple site to use. You can scroll down the list of alphabetically arranged authors on the front page, or check out the list of Latest Additions at the top.

Once you find something you're interested in, click on the book title and you'll be taken to that book's specific page. You can choose to read chapters within your browser (easiest) or print pages out for later.

Why Should I Use this Site?

If you're looking for an easy to use source of free books online, Authorama definitely fits the bill. All of the books offered here are classic, well-written literature, simple to find and simple to read. More »

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is one of the largest sources for free books on the Web, with over 30,000 free downloadable ebooks available in a wide variety of formats. Project Gutenberg is the oldest (and quite possibly the largest) library on the Web, with literally hundreds of thousands books available for free 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. More »

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Scribd offers a fascination collection of all kinds of reading materials: presentations, textbooks, popular reading, and much more, all organized by topic. Scribd is one of the web’s largest sources of published content, with literally millions of documents published every month.

However, Scribd is not free. It does offer a 30-day free trial, but after the trial you'll have to pay $8.99 per month to maintain a membership that grants you access to the sites entire database of books, audiobooks, and magazines. Still not a terrible deal! More »

International Children's Digital Library

International Digital Children's Library: Browse through a wide selection of high quality children's literature here. Check out Simple Search to get a big picture of how this library is organized: by age, reading level, length of book, genres, and more. More »

Internet Archive Texts

Ebooks and Text Archives: From the Internet Archive; a library of fiction, popular books, children's books, historical texts and academic books. More »

World Public Library

World Public Library: Technically, the World Public Library is NOT free. But for under $10, you can gain access to hundreds of thousands of books in over one hundred different languages. They also have over one hundred different special collections ranging from American Lit to Western Philosophy. Worth a look. They also have what they call a Give Away Page, which is over two hundred of their most popular titles, audio books, technical books, ​and books made into movies. Give the freebies a try, and if you really like their service, then you can choose to become a member and get the whole collection. More »

Questia Public Library

Questia Public Library 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 books are available for download here, alphabetized both by title and by author. More »

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Wikisource: Online library of user-submitted and maintained content. At the time of this writing, over 200,000 pieces of content are available to read. More »

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​Wikibooks is an open collection of (mostly) textbooks. Subjects range from Computing to Languages to Science; you can see all that Wikibooks has to offer in Books by Subject. Be sure to check out the Featured Books section, which highlights books that the Wikibooks community at large believes to be “the best of what Wikibooks has to offer, and should inspire people to improve the quality of other books.” More »

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Bibliomania: Bibliomania gives readers over 2,000 free classics, including literature book notes, author bios, book summaries, and study guides. Books are presented in chapter format. More »

Open Library

The Open Library: There are over one million books here, all free, all available in PDF, ePub, Daisy, DjVu and ASCII text. You can search for ebooks specifically by checking the "show only ebooks" box under the main search box. Once you've found an ebook, you will see that it will be available in a variety of formats. More »

Sacred Texts

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

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Slideshare is 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, and all these are available for free download (after free registration). More »

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Free EBooks

Free eBooks offers a wonderfully diverse variety of books, ranging from Advertising to Health to Web Design. Standard memberships (yes, you do have to register in order to download anything but it only takes a minute) are free and allow members to access unlimited eBooks in HTML, but only five books every month in the PDF and TXT formats. A VIP membership here gives you unlimited access to any book you want, in any format. More »

The Online Books Page

The Online Books Page: Maintained by the University of Pennsylvania, this page lists over one million free books free available for download in dozens of different formats.

In addition to the ones referenced in this article, there are also the following resources for free books:

  • WorldeBookFair: for a limited time, you can have access to over a million free ebooks.
  • 55 Ways to Have Fun with Google: a fun eBook from Phillip Lenssen on how to get more out of Google.
  • WorldLibrary:More than 330,000+ unabridged original single file PDF eBooks by the original authors.
  • FreeTechBooks: just like the name of the site, you can get free technology-related books here.
  • FullBooks.com: organized alphabetically; there are a TON of books here.
  • Bartleby eBooks: a huge array of classic literature, all available for free download.
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