17 Best Sites to Download Free Books in 2020

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

Someone reading an ebook in front of a fireplace

Lifewire / Miguel Co

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. All that's left to do is speed up your reading so you have enough time to get through them all! These are the 17 best sites with free books covering a wide variety of subjects, anything from romance novels to computer technology manuals.

A huge quantity of books previously unavailable to the public was released 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.

01
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ManyBooks

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

  • Great categorization makes finding what you love easier.

  • Variety of download formats.

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

  • Some books do cost money.

ManyBooks is one of the best resources on the web for free books in a variety of download formats. There are hundreds of titles here in all sorts of interesting genres and they're completely free. Not all of the books are classics, so if you're into other genres, this site is a good alternative to others in this list.

Unlike some sites, this one lets you browse free books by language. You can also search 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.

Downloading books requires a free account login. Then, you're then given several download options, such as EPUB, MOBI, PDF, FB2, RTF, HTML, and more. They're also readable online through the site's 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
What We Like
  • Extensive collection of computer books.

  • Includes lecture notes.

What We Don't Like
  • Dated site design.

  • Everything on the site is just hyperlinks to other sites.

  • Lacks various ebook formats.

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 include computer and programming languages, computer science, data science, computer engineering, Java, and networking and communications. There are also many subgenres, giving you an easy way to find the book you're after.

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Librivox

Librivox free book downloads
What We Like
  • Free audiobooks (which can be quite pricey!).

  • Audiobooks are available in multiple languages.

  • Large collection of children's audiobooks.

What We Don't Like
  • Books are ready by volunteers, which means performances can be hit or miss.

  • Many listed authors have zero books available.

If you've been looking for a great place to find free audio books, Librivox is a good place to start. The site has many volunteers that work to release quality recordings of classic books. All the titles here are absolutely free, which is good news for those of us who've had to pony up ridiculously high fees for substandard audiobooks.

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Authorama

Authorama free book library
What We Like
  • Easily readable format.

  • You can read right in the browser.

  • No account necessary.

What We Don't Like
  • Bare bones website.

  • Lacks books in foreign languages (except some German).

  • Lacks advanced search features.

Authorama offers a good selection of free books from a variety of authors, both current and classic. They're organized alphabetically by the author’s last name and are written in HTML and XHTML, which means 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.

Authorama offers up a good selection of high-quality, free books you can read right in your browser. These are books in the public domain, which means they're 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. But, 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
What We Like
  • Over 60,000 titles available.

  • Wide variety of formats.

  • Top 100 list aids discoverability.

What We Don't Like
  • Majority of books are in English only.

  • Books may not be free outside of the U.S.

Project Gutenberg is one of the largest and oldest sources for free books on the web, with over 60,000 downloadable titles available in a wide variety of formats. The vast majority of books are released in English, but there are other languages available.

If you already know what you're 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 are downloading.

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International Children's Digital Library

International Children's Digital Library
What We Like
  • Large collection of international children's books.

  • Search by country, recently added, and more.

What We Don't Like
  • The books are actually just images of scanned pages.

  • Links appear to be broken.

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 you can scroll through and 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 classics are available under the Creative Commons license and include nonfiction, essays, fiction, plays, and poetry. 

Free registration isn't required but it lets you track what you've read and what you want to read. It also lets you 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 turns up all his works.

Once you find a book you're interested in, use the Read Online button to launch it 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
What We Like
  • Books across a wide variety of interests.

  • You can sort by view count or popularity.

  • Several downloading options.

What We Don't Like
  • It can be difficult finding exactly what you want from numerous search results.

  • Site can be slow to respond.

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

Questia's library of free books
What We Like
  • Good for researchers and librarians.

  • Offers tutorials for writing research papers.

  • Offers a topic idea generator.

What We Don't Like
  • Small collection compared to other sites on this list.

  • Some features are for paid subscribers.

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

Wikisource home page
What We Like
  • Hundreds of thousands of pieces of content available to read.

  • Audio available for certain texts.

What We Don't Like
  • User-submitted content could vary in quality.

  • Technically, there are no books on this site.

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, and some are in 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

Wikibooks home page
What We Like
  • Wikimedia Cookbook offers a worldwide collection of recipes.

  • Wikijunior offers books for children 12 and under.

  • Offers community features like a reading room and forum.

What We Don't Like
  • Mostly just textbooks.

  • Small collection.

  • Not all of the books are completed.

​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 it's 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
What We Like
  • Good alternative if Archive.org isn't working for you.

  • Multiple formats available.

  • Readers can "sponsor" books they want to see on the site.

What We Don't Like
  • Just pulls results from Archive.org.

  • Sponsoring requires a donation.

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
What We Like
  • Large collection of free religious texts.

  • There's a random button for when you just want to read something.

  • You can save pages to read offline.

What We Don't Like
  • Dated site design.

  • Text is quite small.

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. You can also browse by category or search for a book title, 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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SlideShare

Featured SlideShares
What We Like
  • Good place to find presentations, infographics, and more.

  • Also offers job searches via LinkedIn.

What We Don't Like
  • A lot of content isn't free.

  • Limited download options.

  • Registration required.

Slideshare is another site with 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.

The site 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

free-ebooks.net romance books
What We Like
  • Diverse selection of free books.

  • Also offers audiobooks.

  • Large amount of categories.

What We Don't Like
  • You can only download five free books a month.

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
What We Like
  • Boasts over three million books.

  • Dozens of different formats.

  • Offers partial searches.

What We Don't Like
  • Extremely basic site.

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

Scribd bestselling books
What We Like
  • Offers a wide range of reading materials, including sheet music and magazines.

  • One of the internet's largest sources of published content.

  • Mobile app available.

What We Don't Like
  • Only free for 30 days.

  • Costs $8.99/month.

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

However, Scribd is only free for 30 days. Unlike other sites on this list, 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.