For book lovers on a budget
It’s easier than you think to read a book for free online on any subject you could ever imagine, from Elizabethan classics to contemporary indie fiction.
Many readers love the feel of a print book because they can hold it, feel the paper, turn the pages and highlight their favorite parts for later. They’re also easier on the eyes.
Ebooks are not only cheaper, ready to read and download, but can easily be shared with others, which most people find hard to do with physical copies. They also offer font flexibility for easier reading on your smartphone, tablet, computer or e-reader.
If you’re a book lover and want to feed your reading addiction without crushing your wallet, here are four of the best sites to read books free of charge.
BookBub is a free online service that helps you discover new discounted and free ebooks from critically acclaimed indie authors to top-tier publishers, for a limited time.
Once you register with your email, plug in your book preferences and the device you want to read on. BookBub will filter available content based on your choices and devices, and send handpicked recommendations and deals in your inbox each day.
You can’t download free ebooks from the site though. It simply introduces you to books you’ll love that are available on other platforms such as Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, Amazon Kindle store, Apple Books and more. This way, you spend less time searching by surfacing reviews from people you trust.
Click on a title and it’ll display a photo of the book cover, synopsis, and the date when it’ll stop being free. It also includes more titles from the same author, title suggestions from similar categories, direct links to the download pages, and social media sharing buttons.
The books are available on Android, Kindle, Nook and iPad devices among many others.
- Variety of categories
- Email notifications on new titles or deals
- Offers children’s books
- Social media sharing buttons
- Free titles mostly available for a limited time
- Annoying pop-up ads
- No mobile app
- Fewer titles for younger children
- Links direct you to Amazon and other platforms
Project Gutenberg is one of the oldest and largest ebook sources on the web, with more than 60,000 downloadable books in different formats.
Most books are released in English, but you can get titles in other languages like French, Dutch, or Portuguese and others, from 15 subsections including Book Series, History, Picture Books and Literature. If you know what you want, you can type the author name, title, subject or language in the search bar to find it quickly. You can also view the top 100 list to find out what others are downloading plus the number of downloads a book has had.
You can choose to read online in your browser or download free ebooks to your PC or smartphone, and they’ll be saved in ePub format, plain text or Kindle files in your cloud storage. If you want to save space, you can download with or without images.
There’s no registration or subscription payment, plus, if you’re a fan of audiobooks, Gutenberg offers these for free too.
- Free downloadable books
- Shows number of downloads
- Offers links to free audiobooks
- Large non-English collection
- Alphabetized list
- No mobile app
Open Library is an easy to navigate, book download and lending site that offers more than one million free ebooks, making it an excellent place to read books from the web.
You can search for a specific book by keyword, subject, places, times, author or genre using the search bar. It also lets you search by user-created lists like Need to have or Old favorites, but make sure you check the “show only ebooks” box to get results of the ebooks available for free.
It offers 15 book categories including classic literature, biographies, fantasies, and recipe books, all of which are available in PDF, ePub, MOBI, plain text and other popular formats. Not all books are downloadable any time though, some require you to join a waitlist.
You’ll need to sign up for a free account and then download all the free ebooks you want.
- Massive book collection
- Variety of formats for different devices
- Variety of categories and genres
- Organized by keyword, subject, or user-created list
- Advanced search function
- Can track loaned books
- No mobile app
- Wait lists required for some books
- Limits readers to five books at a time
- Scans books from physical copies
ManyBooks is another good site from which you can read a book for free. Established in 2004, the site has expanded its selection and currently offers more than 50,000 downloadable ebooks, some at a discounted price.
Most of the early ebooks are from Project Gutenberg archives, so you’ll get a rich mix of old classics and a rapidly growing list of contemporary titles too. Its categories include cooking, art, drama, business, computers, war, health, music, psychology, espionage and several others.
You can browse the free books by title, author or any of the 35 language options, and download as an AZW file for Kindle, ePub for your Nook, or other file formats. An advanced search option is provided so you can locate exactly what you want.
To use ManyBooks, register with your email address and fill out your preferences to receive free and bargained ebooks in your inbox. You can also check their social media pages for updates.
- Large collection of free ebooks
- Good categorization for easier search
- User ratings and reviews available
- Lists free and premium books together
- No mobile app
- Layout is cluttered
- Not updated regularly in some areas
- Includes ads
There’s no need to shell out when you can read thousands of great books without paying a penny. You can easily discover a title or two that you love or create a personal library if you like, and read or download free ebooks instantly.