Free Books

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Dear Fellow Reader,

Here we all are in our houses sheltering in place or working from home and trying to keep well. I thought it would be a good time to update my prior posts on free sources for books. In some cases, you may find audiobooks, magazines, and videos available also. Why? Because even though you have that stack of books to read, none of them may appeal to you right now.

All my suggestions are for eBooks rather than physical books. If you don’t have an eBook reader, you can download the app for whichever reader you would want. You can put the app on your phone, tablet, or computer. It is easy and free.

images (1)Your public library – If you don’t normally take out eBooks,  now is the time to learn how.  At my library, there are three different online ways to take out materials. The first is by using Overdrive. If you go to the Overdrive site, and you have a library card, you can use the site to get books – eBooks or audiobooks. You can probably link to the site from your library website also. Now, I will admit that this is not always the most satisfying way to get a book just because there can be such long lines of people waiting for a book. But if you are just looking for something to read, there is a filter you can use to access books that are available for immediate download.

Overdrive has an app called Libby you can download to your tablet, phone, or computer that will allow you access to Overdrive. The app saves your library card and you can read through the app or have the books sent to your Kindle.

NOTE:  One of my pet peeves about having to put books on hold is that it seems that they all come in at the same time. Well, someone must have been listening! Now you can delay taking a book when it is finally your turn. You can stay at the top of the list but let the next person go ahead of you. I think it is a brand new option – don’t miss it!

My library also subscribes to another service called Hoopla. Hoopla has videos you can download, eBooks, audiobooks, and music. If you see it on the screen, you can get it. There is no waiting time. Not surprisingly, there is not the selection that you will see on Overdrive. The Library purchases the access so you may be limited to only being able to get so many items a month. With my library, I can take out 5 items a month. (Just as a note – if you are downloading a video series, you only get one episode at a time. So in one month, you can only get 5 episodes, maximum.) If your library subscribes to this service, it is well worth checking out.

The other service that my library subscribes to is RBdigital where you can download magazines and audiobooks.

Check your local library website to see what programs you have access to and check them out. You may easily find there is much more at your fingertips then you imagined. (My library also offers Rosetta Stone and access to

download (3)Little Free Libraries – This is the name for those little boxes with books that can spring up in someone’s yard. I wrote about these before and there are more scattered across the country all the time. There is an organization (Little Free Library) that sells the boxes and keeps track of locations. There has been a suggestion that these boxes be used during this time as free food pantries for those in need but you may still find books in some of them.

Project Gutenberg –  There are over 60,000 free books available through the Project Gutenberg web site.  These books can be downloaded to eReaders or your computer. The books shared on this site are books that the copyright on the book has expired. Therefore, this is the place to go for your classics.

(In case you are wondering how long a copyright lasts, it depends on the date of publication and if the author was alive when the book was published. All books published prior to 1923 are in the public domain. Books published between 1922 and 1978 have a copyright that lasts 95 years from the date of publication. If the author was dead when the book was published, the copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. If the work was published after 1978, the copyright is the life of the author plus 70 years. This is the simplistic guide there are many ins and outs that you can look up if you need more information. )

download (4)Kindle Free Books – You can go to Amazon and in the search box type in  “free Kindle books” and a list of currently free Kindle books will come up.

Nook Free Books – As with Amazon, you can go to Barnes and Noble’s web site and type “free Nook books” into the search and a list of currently free books will come up.

Kobo Free Books – In case you are not familiar with Kobo, it is another company that makes eReaders and sells eBooks. You can go to Kobo and type in “free eBooks” and a list of their current free books will come up.

Note:  You can download a  free app from each of these companies to your computer, phone, iPad, or tablet so that you can read their books. These titles will change all the time. If you don’t see something one day, you might the next. You will not find the latest best sellers on these sites but you may find your new favorite author. – I just found this site. It seems to have a mix of old and new books. I have never used it. 

Open Library – This is another site for free downloadable books. Go to Open Library to check it out. There is an FAQ page that you can check out at FAQ.

With sites where you download books, remember that they will download where you are downloading them. So if you want to read on your tablet, download to your tablet not your computer.

Do you have a source for free books that I have not mentioned?  Please let me know about it so that I can add it to my list.

Thanks for reading!


About Carol Early Cooney

I love to read. I love to share my thoughts on books and hope to hear what you think also. Looking to see what books I read beyond those I write about? Check out my Goodreads!
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