Free Ebooks: 10 Best Places to Download Them

Man reading on smartphone

Searching for free ebooks? There are plenty of great websites and apps that make them easy to find | Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images

Whether you’ve invested in a Kindle or just prefer to read books on your tablet or laptop to lugging around heavy hardcovers or easily-damaged paperbacks, there are plenty of reasons to read both classic literature and the latest bestsellers in ebook form. But buying ebooks can add up, especially if you’re a voracious reader. So we’ve put together a list of the top places to find free ebooks.

1. Project Gutenberg

If your taste in literature skews more classic than The New York Times Bestseller List, then Project Gutenberg is going to be your new best friend. If you’ve found it difficult to track down an ebook version of a popular classic novel without major formatting issues or persistent errors, you’ll love Project Gutenberg. Because the copyrights on many masterpieces of not-so-modern literature have expired, Project Gutenberg can digitize them, and distribute them as ebooks that you can enjoy for free on your e-reader, tablet, or laptop. You may never have thought of yourself as a connoisseur of classic literature, but the search for free ebooks may be much more effective than that survey-level literature class you snoozed through in college at getting you to actually read and enjoy a book that was written decades ago.

2. Google Play Books

You can find free ebooks on the web, via apps, or even in the media store already on your device

You don’t have to look farther than the Google Play Store for some great free ebooks | Source: iStock

If you’re reading on an Android smartphone or tablet, you may not need to look any farther than the Google Play Store to find free ebooks. There are plenty of free books available on the platform, and if the list of the most popular free downloads is any indication, you’ll find a lot more than classic literature for free in Google’s store. That makes it super easy to find something to read right from an app that you already have on your smartphone or tablet.

3. Open Library

Library sign

You don’t actually have to walk into a library to download or borrow some free ebooks | Source: iStock

Open Library is a great destination for free ebooks, whether you want to download a few of the 1,000,000 free titles available or borrow from the lending library of more than 250,000 ebooks. You can find tons of classic pieces of literature as free downloads on the site, while the lending library includes many more modern titles. When you borrow an ebook, you get up to five titles for two weeks each. You can read them either in your browser or as a PDF or ePub file.

4. ManyBooks

Children reading books

Most sites that offer free ebooks enable you to download them in a variety of formats, or even read them in your browser | Source: iStock

Another great source for free ebooks (and discounted ebooks, too) is ManyBooks. The site offers 33,000 free ebooks, and you can browse the library by genre, title, author, language, or check out what’s recommend or popular. The titles on ManyBooks are formatted for Kindle, Nook, and other e-readers, or you can access an HTML version of each book if you prefer to read online.

5. Free Ebooks

Reading free ebooks at the airport

Free ebooks are a great way to stay entertained or brush up on an interesting topic at home or on the go | Source: iStock

The offerings at Free Ebooks stand up to the site’s name. The platform is a great place to discover books by independent writers, whether you’re looking for a novel to read on the beach or a nonfiction title to step up your knowledge in an academic area or brush up on a practical skill. And in addition to ebooks, you can also download free magazines, if you need something a little easier to browse in your downtime.

6. BookBoon

Fashion student

You can save on at least a few pricy textbooks by downloading free ebooks instead | Source: iStock

If your search for free ebooks is at least partially about finding some free textbooks, BookBoon is for you. The site offers free downloads of textbooks across categories including accounting, career and study advice, economics and finance, engineering, IT & programming, languages, marketing and law, natural sciences, statistics and mathematics, and strategy and management. Whether you’re in school or not, BookBoon makes it easy to find the books that’ll help you gain valuable knowledge and learn useful skills.

7. Kindle Unlimited


A subscription that enables you to access thousands or millions of ebooks for one low fee is a great way to go | Source: iStock

The books you can read through Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program may not technically be free, since you’ll need to pay the $9.99 subscription fee each month. But because that fee grants you access to more than 1 million free ebooks and thousands of audiobooks, you won’t feel bad about breezing through a particularly fascinating novel in a single evening. You can read Kindle Unlimited books either on a Kindle device or via a free Kindle Reading app on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

8. Scribd

Man on laptop

A great source for free ebooks will enable you to read the titles that are already on your reading list, while discovering new genres and authors to get excited about | Source: iStock

Scribd offers a service that’s similar to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program, in that you can pay $8.99 a month and get access to three books (and one audiobook each month) from the platform’s library of 500,000 ebooks. While paying a monthly subscription fee may not be exactly the same thing as downloading free ebooks with no strings attached, a Scribd subscription is a great way to get access to all of the books that you already know you want to read, while discovering new genres and new authors that you’ll love.

9. MegaReader

Man using smartphone and lifting weights

A great ebook app makes it easier to read while traveling, or multitasking | Source: iStock

Another approach to finding free ebooks is to download an app that can do the work for you. If you have an iPhone or an iPad, try MegaReader, an app that gives you access to 2 million free ebooks across a number of different online catalogs. MegaReader offers all the classics, as well as some modern works, too. The app costs just $1.99, which may be the next-best deal to a catalog of totally free ebooks.

10. Wattpad

mother and little daughter looking at touch pad in plane

Ebooks are an easy way to keep you and your family entertained | Source: iStock

Another app that offers both an ebook reader and access to tons of free ebooks is Wattpad, which is available not only on iOS, but also on Android and on Windows phones. The app gives you access to stories and books written by both published and aspiring authors, and you can choose from millions of stories ranging from classic pieces of literature to works by well-known authors to pieces of fan fiction.

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