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 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 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 and download a wide variety of completely free books online, anything from romance novels to computer technology manuals. 

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A screenshot of the Read Print Shakespeare page where readers can find free books.

Read Print is an online library where you can find thousands of free books to read. The books are classics or Creative Commons licensed and include everything from nonfiction and essays to fiction, plays, and poetry. 

Free registration at Read Print gives you the ability to track what you've read and what you would like to read, write reviews of books you have read, add books to your favorites, and to join online book clubs or discussion lists to discuss great works of literature.

Note: You can access the books on Read Print without joining, however, you won't have access to the other features mentioned above.

Finding Free Books On Read Print's Website

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.

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

Reading Books at Read Print

Once you've found a book you're interested in, click Read Online and the book will open within your web browser. You also have the option to Launch Reading Mode if you're not fond of the website interface. Reading Mode looks like an open book, however, all the free books on the Read Print site are divided by chapter so you'll have to go back and open it every time you start a new chapter.

If you find a free book you really like and you'd like to download it to your mobile e-reader, Read Print provides links to Amazon, where the book can be downloaded. However, when downloading books from Amazon, you may have to pay for the book unless you're a member of Amazon Kindle Unlimited.

What We Like

  • Read Print is easy to search and offers a variety of ways to find the free books to read.
  • With a free account, you have access to your own personal page to manage your bookshelf and interact with the Read Print community.
  • Read Print offers a comprehensive quotation database culled from both authors listed on the site and those who are not and searching these quotes is as easy as searching the site.

What We Don't Like

  • The only books you'll find on this site are classics and those with Creative Commons licenses. 
  • There is no way to download free books directly from this site. If you find a book you want to read, you have to use the reading platform provided on the site.
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A screenshot of the ManyBooks website showing how free books are categorized by genre.

ManyBooks is one of the best resources on the web for free books in a variety of download formats. There are hundreds of books available here, in all sorts of interesting genres, and all of them are completely free. One of the best features of this site is that not all of the books listed here are classic or creative commons books.

Finding Free Books on Many Books

ManyBooks is in transition at the time of this writing. A beta test version of the site is available that features a serviceable search capability. Readers can also find books by browsing genres, popular selections, author, and editor's choice. 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.

In addition to these basic search options, 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.

Reading Books at ManyBooks

All of the free books at ManyBooks are downloadable — some directly from the ManyBooks site, some from other websites (such as Amazon). When you register for the site you're asked to choose your favorite format for books, however, you're not limited to the format you choose. When you find a book you want to read, you can select the format you prefer to download from a drop down menu of dozens of different file formats.

What We Like

  • The selection of books on the ManyBooks site include more than just the standard selection of classic and Creative Commons books.
  • Books are broken into a wide variety of categories, making it easier for readers to find what they love to read.

What We Don't Like

  • The transition from the existing site to the beta site isn't complete, however at the time of this writing, it looks like some functionality will be removed in the new site.
  • Some areas of the site have not been updated in over a year, even though it appears that new titles are still being added.
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 books here are free, but there are some downloads that require a small fee.

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.

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Librivox

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.

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Authorama

Authorama.com features a nice selection of free 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 high-quality, free books that you can read right in your browser or print out for later. 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.

How Do I find Free 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 Authorama?

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, easy to find and simple to read.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is one of the largest sources for free books on the web, with over 30,000 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 hundreds of 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.

International Children's Digital Library

International Digital Children's Library: Browse through a wide selection of high quality free books for children 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.

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. The free books on this site span every possible interest.

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 free books are available for download here, alphabetized both by title and by author.

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Wikisource

Wikisource: Online library of user-submitted and maintained content. While you won't technically find free books on this site, at the time of this writing, over 200,000 pieces of content are available to read.

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Wikibooks

​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 free 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.”

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A screenshot of the Bibliomania website for download free books.

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

Open Library

The Open Library: There are over one million free books here, all available in PDF, ePub, Daisy, DjVu and ASCII text.

You can search for ebooks specifically by checking the Show only ebooks option under the main search box. Once you've found an ebook, you will see it available in a variety of formats.

Sacred Texts

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

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SlideShare

Another site that isn't strictly for free books, Slideshare does offer a large amount of free content for you to read. It 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).

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Free EBooks

Free eBooks offers a wonderfully diverse variety of free 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 (at $39.95 for a full year or $49.95 for a lifetime membership) gives you unlimited access to any book you want, in any format.

The Online Books Page

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

World Public Library

World Public Library: Technically, the World Public Library is NOT free. But for $8.95 annually, 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.

Scribd

Scribd offers a fascinating 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!

Additional Resources for Free Books

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

  • WorldeBookFair: for a limited time, you can have access to over a million free ebooks.
  • 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.