Ebooks are a great way to keep yourself entertained and perhaps even learn something new. Let’s be honest: your day doesn’t have enough hours to be able to digest everything – there are millions of ebooks waiting for you to read them. In other words, getting your hands on one of these free ebooks is not an issue once you know where to look for them, and since these are free to distribute, you won’t be stepping on anyone’s toes, copyright-wise. There is, however, the question of safety. Can you download them without worries, or is there something more you should know before doing so?
Stick to Sources You Trust
Like anywhere else, you need to exercise your due diligence to avoid websites that distribute malware.
Sites like Project Gutenberg, for example, is a trusted source with plenty of users and more than 50,000 free ebooks you can download. And yes, these include fictional works like Sherlock Holmes – its copyright expired quite a while ago, thus allowing for legal distribution free of charge.
Another great one is Amazon Prime, given you have the membership (if not, feel free to take advantage of their 30-day trial). This is a great place to stock up on free audiobooks, which are a great way to shorten the time while commuting or driving. Contrary to popular belief, there’s no need to have Kindle access their offerings – any modern iPhone or Android device will do. Speaking of audiobooks, Audible is a great platform for these as well.
And, of course, the good old public libraries, a source too often forgotten. But they, too, are changing with the times, meaning you can obtain an ebook through them much like you’d be able to get a paperback. As long as you have a library card issued by your local provider, you should be able to access their selection of ebooks. However, bear in mind the library will remove the ebook from your device after some time.
Apart from these, there are others you can Google for. Since their search engine algorithm is set up to penalize websites that distribute malware and either remove them or push them down the search results, you should be fine.
The Malware May Be in the Files Themselves
In addition to infected websites, the danger may be lurking in the files themselves, as certain formats can hold malware. These files are the ones you often get by trying to download ebooks from illegal distribution networks. By attempting to do so, you not only run the risk of getting in trouble with the law but also invite trojans and other viruses to be planted straight onto your PC.
Furthermore, be careful when friends send you ebooks. Even though a friend may have your best intentions at heart, they may not be as technically-savvy as you are and thus distribute infected files without being the wiser. Also, if you come across an offer that seems a bit too good to be true (such as someone offering you to download the latest bestseller ebook for free), keep your guard up. For all you know, you could be unleashing a hurricane of viruses upon launching one of these files.
Additional Tips and Tricks
It’s good practice to scan every file that lands on your device with an antivirus program before opening it. That way, you can make sure you are not putting your operating system in jeopardy. In theory, even a reputable website might publish an infected ebook file. It can happen to everyone.
A cool trick is knowing how to hide your IP with a VPN. Not only does it protect you against would-be hackers, but it also could grant you access to regionally-exclusive ebook sources. For example, a website could be running an ebook giveaway that’s limited to a particular region. A VPN allows you to have your IP address from any country and the exact amount of options depends on the provider chosen. Read a NordVPN review and compare it with some other popular services to find the best in the market.
Obviously ebooks provide a wellspring of information and entertainment, but it is important that you do not download them randomly. A modern bestseller might look like it’s free, but can be pirated. Stick to websites that have a good reputation, or Google around for reviews of it.
Markus lives in San Francisco, California and is the video game and audio expert on Good e-Reader! He has a huge interest in new e-readers and tablets, and gaming.