5 Websites to Read Books for Free

It’s true — the only time I splurge on purchasing a book is when I’m sure I’ll read it more than once. Raising a big family on one income, I can’t help but be spend-conscious.

And you can’t beat FREE!

My favorite way to get physical books for free is through hyperlocal gifting groups on Facebook (a few in my area are Buy Nothing and Green Bee).

My favorite way to enjoy ebooks (and audiobooks!) for free is through my local library’s website.

Libraries have an incredible selection, but there are times all digital copies of a book are already loaned out. Other times, they don’t have the book I’m after (did you know you can submit a suggestion or request to your library for them to order a specific book?).

On top of these reasons to seek other places to read books online for free, not everyone has the luxury of access to a public library.

I’m excited to share some of my go-to websites when the need arises!

Bear in mind most websites offering free books have a fraction of the selection libraries do. Two on my list offer mostly classic titles or public domain books. Some aren’t as user-friendly to navigate, and advertisements can interfere with search results on others.

We are talking free, though.

Aside from these five websites, I want to share how to access free books through public library websites (and shed light on the many benefits of having a library card).

*Feel free to jump to the list of websites below the screenshot of library card benefits listed in a Quora.com answer. 😉

How to Access Free Books via Your Public Library’s Website:

Libraries typically sign up with one or more of these three service providers to lend digital ebooks:

Overdrive.com
Libbyapp.com
HooplaDigital.com

Simply either call or check your library’s website to determine which one they’re connected with. You can also search for your library directly on the service provider websites or apps.

After you sign up and connect your library account, you can check out ebooks and read them right inside the app or your browser. My library includes a ‘read in browser’ link within the book listing directly on their website.

If you have a local library but don’t hold a card, it’s worth mentioning they offer much more than books! Check out this list of benefits mentioned in an answer to “What are some lesser known benefits of having a library card?” on Quora.com:

Author’s screenshot from this page on quora.com



Library card perks are insane!

Okay, now for those five websites where you can read books for free. 

I’ll include a website screenshot, a few remarks, and my favorite recent find from each one.

1. Play.Google.com



I was surprised to learn about free books on the Google Play website! Enjoy books here in your browser or the app on your phone.

It isn’t easy to locate the free books, however! The easiest way to find them is to search ‘free books’ in the search bar. 

If you have an iPhone, Apple has a book app with free books.

Navigating the site feels clunky to me. It wasn’t obvious that I needed to swipe left to view more books (I initially thought the selection was slim).

My favorite recent find: 
365 Quotes to Live Your Life By, Powerful, Inspiring, & Life-Changing Words of Wisdom to Brighten Up Your Days, by I.C. Robleto.

You know how much I loooove good quotes!



2. ManyBooks.net

Screenshot of ManyBook’s home page.



ManyBooks.net has a decent selection of ebooks and they’re all free!

You can download the book or use the ‘read online’ option. I like that they make it easy to adjust the text size within their read online option.

My favorite recent find: 
Hold That Thought, by Chana Mason.



3. BookBub.com

Screenshot of BookBub’s Browse page.



BookBub.com offers fewer free books to choose from than ManyBooks.net. It serves as a book discovery service, connecting readers with new books by new authors.

Not every book includes the option to read in your browser, however. Some must be read on Kindle or at Barnes and Noble’s website (an account with those sites is required).

I do love to visit Book Bub on occasion to discover new books and their authors. 

My favorite recent find:
Let’s Talk About Hard Things
, by Anna Sale.

▶️Author Anna Sale talks about this book in this video on her YouTube Channel. You can also find details about her podcast in this video.



4. Gutenberg.org

Screenshot of the main page from Gutenberg.com
Screenshot of the Search and Borrow menu at Gutenberg.org


You won’t need to sign up or download anything to read books on Project Gutenberg’s website, Gutenberg.org!

Every book on the Project Gutenberg site is free. Most of their selection consists of classics that are no longer subject to copyright. They also have tons of public domain books.

It can be a bit overwhelming to browse their massive collection. I found it helpful to start my search by selecting ‘most frequently downloaded.’ This way, I start with the most popular books and go from there.

Even though there aren’t newer books here, you can find excellent reads!

This site is similar to the last on my list, OpenLibrary.org. One key difference is that Project Gutenberg displays digital formats of the book (whereas Open Library displays scanned images of the book’s physical pages instead). 

My favorite recent find: 
Meditations
, by Marcus Aurelius.


5. OpenLibrary.org



The Internet Archive’s ‘Open Library Project’ website, OpenLibrary.org offers mostly classic and public domain books. It’s similar to Gutenberg.org.

You can find titles from more recent years here too! 

Instead of a digital version, scanned images of the pages from the physical book are displayed. You might find digital versions are easier on the eyes. One time I came across a copy with partially blurry pages. 

I appreciate the option to skip ahead to specific page numbers.

My favorite recent find: 
Guardians of Being
, by Eckhart Tolle 
I love being able to share this online copy with others! It’s one of my favorite books, and I have a hardcover copy. Whether you’re an Eckhart fan or haven’t heard of him before), I invite you to visit my post about Guardians of Being here.  

I hope you found this article insightful! 

Do you have another website I should add to this list? I’d love to know about it and any books you discover on the sites I shared. 

Until next time… happy reading!🦋

Amanda Jean

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