How to Read Free Google Ebooks on Your Phone or Tablet

Find public domain books and promotional giveaways

laptop screen showing Google books page
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Google scans books from public libraries and other sources. This gives you access to a library of classic literature that can be read on a computer, mobile device, or e-book reader. Google may also have free books that are not public domain; not all free books are copyright free. In addition, publishers may choose to make a book free, such as for a promotion or because the author or publisher wants to get the information in front of an audience.

Search for a Book

Here's how to find free books (both public domain and otherwise) through Google Books. 

  1. Log in to your Google Account and go to Google Books at books.google.com.

  2. Search Google Books for any book or topic. For example, search for Alice in Wonderland.

    Search Google Books
  3. The search results may contain several variations of an e-book. If the work is in the public domain, the variations are with formatting and the number of illustrations included in the work. You may also find copies for sale, as reformatting the print copy into an e-book took some work. Some of your search results may also be related works with the same title.

  4. Filter out the irrelevant results. Restrict your search results using the search tools to find Free Google eBooks.

    Free Google eBooks filter in a Google Search
  5. When you find one that you like, select it to read in your browser.

    Read a book in Google

Find Free Ebooks on Google Play

Another way to get free Google e-books is to go to the Google Play store and browse. Top Free in Books is a browsing category that lists this week's most popular free downloads. This includes public domain books and promotional books that legal copyright holders wanted to give away for free.

  1. Open a web browser and go to Google Play Books.

  2. Select Top Charts from the menu across the top.

    Top Charts on Google Play
  3. Scroll until you see Top Free. Select See more for the complete list.

    Top Free eBooks on Google Play Books
  4. Or, search for a book and use the pricing controls in the top menu to sort free ones. Select All prices and choose Free to see only free books.

    Price filters on Google Play Books
  5. Buy free e-books like any other Google Book, except that you are buying them for no money.

Amazon often has the same promotions running for free e-books, so if you prefer Kindle, search Amazon and check. If they're on sale in both the Amazon and Google Play bookstores, you could download them both.

Read Your Book From Google Play

As soon as you buy your free book, Google will give you the option to read it.

Google Play book purchased

You can also keep shopping for more books, free or otherwise. To get back to your digital library, select My Books from the side menu of the Play Store.

My Books on Google Play

When you select My Books, you'll see all the books in your virtual library, both purchased and free. You can also get your books from Google Play on Android and iOS to read any time.

Google Play my books

Google Play Books remembers which page you were on, so you can start reading a book on your desktop computer and continue reading on your tablet or Android phone without missing a page.