Many people are purchasing e-readers, tablets, and smartphones with the intention of amassing a large collection of ebooks. Not everyone can afford to purchase books from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo on a regular basis and so they turn to free books on the internet. Public domain books are free because the copyright on them has expired. If you are looking for a great place to get free ebooks, we will list the best sources.
The main format of ebooks in the public domain are EPUB, which is the format of choice on 95% of all reading devices. Amazon uses its own proprietary format, but a number of Public Domain sources have them available in MOBI, which is the version you want if you have any model of the Kindle. If you find a great source of ebooks and they are only available in EPUB, you can use a free program like Calibre to convert them from one format to another. We have filmed over 40 different video tutorials using Calibre that will teach you how to do this. Watch them HERE!
Feedbooks – Requires no registration and you can easily browse by author or title. eBooks are available in EPUB format and do not have DRM.
Books Should be Free – Public domain ebooks and audiobooks abound on this site. It has a great layout and genre specific categories that make discovering content quite easy. The audio content is delivered in MP3 format, which should work well with most players and readers. The one great aspect of this site is the ebook formats that are supported. You can get them in EPUB, PDA, Mobi, and TXT files. This ensures you can get books and not have to worry about converting their formats.
eBooks@Adelaide – The University of Adelaide in Australia has amassed a fairly respectable collection of ebooks. Some of the books are only viewable in your web-browser and others can be downloaded to your PC. The books are available in the MOBI and EPUB formats, and the site also supports “Read it Later” or has a print option! It has a blog style layout and it’s not too terribly intuitive, but if you know what you are searching for, it is a viable solution. It is important to note that Australian copyright law is different from the USA and the rest of the world.
Protect Gutenberg – Considered by most people to be the most definitive website for public domain ebooks. People tend to like this website because they have over 30,000 different books and support many different e-readers. All of the books listed tend to have pages integrated at the beginning of everything you download, so you don’t forget where it came from.
MobileRead – The Mobile Read forum community is a solid source to find public domain ebooks. It has a different layout then most of the other stores on this list, because it runs forum software. People dig this website because you can request specific books not included in the main list and people will try and dig them up for you. This helps with obscure open sourced books that stem from other countries. One great thing is it supports the mainstream formats as well as old Sony and Microsoft extensions.
Google Books – Google not only has a paid bookstore that is a part of the Google Play ecosystem, but it also offers millions of free books. The company has partnered with academic libraries all over the world to digitize their entire archives. This ensures that books from all over Europe are available for the entire world to download. You will find one of a kind books here. Google has even converted the Dead Sea Scrolls over to ebook format!
eBooks by Sainsbury’s – There are over 1000 public domain books available as eBooks to be downloaded. This amount will continue to grow as they add to the classics already listed in their collection.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.