6 Little Known Places to Download Unique Free eBooks
The internet has many places to download free ebooks, but only a few get attention. Expand your scope and you’ll find great downloads in these little-known places.
You’re probably already familiar with Project Gutenberg, Overdrive, Centsless Books, and some of the other top free eBook downloads. In this article, we’ll go beyond them to find free ebooks from sources you’ve never heard of before. This includes one of the best forums to get books, a place to dig up old-fashioned pulp fiction, and better ways to get the classics.
1. Standard eBooks (Web): Classics reformatted and embellished
Places like Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive already store a large collection of books in the public domain. But these are usually old titles whose copyright has expired. So the formatting and font often looks outdated, especially on modern e-book readers.
Standard Ebooks is a non-profit community project aimed at replicating these classics to improve reading tools today. The biggest difference you’ll notice is that the font and typesetting appear cleaner and more attractive, like many books made for Kindle.
They even republish the books to adhere to a modern style guide and clean up leftovers of old styles that are no longer relevant. The community is also redesigning and updating the book cover to look more like a modern book.
The collection currently includes over 400 titles by authors like William Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, Arthur Conan Doyle, etc. You will find several file formats for different types of e-readers, or to read in your browser. Anyone can join Standard Ebooks and help restore these classics.
Another way to consume these classics in a modern format is through audiobooks. You can download fantastic free audiobooks from Loyal Books and Librivox.
2. Pulp Mags (Web): Digital archive of Pulp Fiction magazines
Some of the most entertaining stories in history have never been published in famous novels. They found their way into inexpensive pulp magazines from the late 1800s to around 1950s, aimed more at attracting the mass market. Pump Mags is a free digital archive of these magazines that anyone can download and read.
Currently, it includes over 400 books from USA, England, and Australia, which have titles like Adventure Magazine, Astounding Stories, Exciting Western, Mammoth Mystery, Thrills Incorporated, etc. Each issue usually contains several stories from various authors on the same theme. .
All books are available in PDF format and can also be read online in the browser. You can also search the full text archive. It might seem like a problem that the site doesn’t have a “most popular” or “best of” section, but that’s actually pulp fiction fun. Download a magazine with a title and cover image you like and start reading. It’s about discovering fun and entertaining stories, just like people did back in the day.
3.r / FreeEbooks (Web): Forum to share free downloads of ebooks
If you’re source agnostic from where to get a book, Reddit’s r / FreeEbooks is a treasure trove. People all over the world share several links to free e-books every day, which are completely legal to download.
The collection is more varied than elsewhere because it is not limited to the Kindle or the Kobo. You will find authors sharing links to their personal websites or publishers where they have made available some eBooks for free download. Most “e-book deals of the day” sites will miss such deals.
You can quickly sort books by genre using Reddit’s flairs. Since this is a forum, you can also create posts asking for sources for specific books or recommendations. It’s a great way to discover a new author or classic novel when you don’t know what to read next.
4. Unglue (Web): Start Making Books Free
Let’s say you buy a book, finish reading it, and then donate it to your local library. Now anyone can read this book for free, right? Unglue wants to bring this system to a ton of books waiting to become free.
Its unique mission is to help books that are currently paid for become free forever as well. Unglue also wants it to be available in all licenses and formats, removing all DRM. Each book has a Kickstarter type goal. As a lay user, you can either donate or buy to achieve this goal, or spread the word and ask others to donate so that the book becomes free.
To download titles, visit the collection of eBooks already free thanks to Unglue’s efforts. The Unglue Library also includes several classics, as well as a few surprises like Cory Doctrow’s Little Brother. Browse popular listings or successful campaigns to find free ebooks you won’t come across elsewhere. You will also get more titles on the pages where the authors have made their books free.
5. UPenn’s Online Books Page (Web): Free Banned Books and Nobel Prize Winners
The University of Pennsylvania has compiled a comprehensive list of free e-books available from various sources on the Internet. Not only that, it has categorized them into useful lists for your reading pleasure.
For example, an entire page is devoted to the winning books of three prestigious literary prizes: Newbery, Pulitzer and the Nobel Prize for Literature. There is another wonderful article on forbidden books and where you can read them, to counter the dangers of overzealous censorship. And the Celebrating Female Writers subsection has a variety of ways to experience women’s voices.
But perhaps the best section is the specialized archives. The UPenn team has painstakingly put together the best eBook resources specializing in different topics. It varies from writers and black subjects to folklore to politics. And there are also several regional and non-English resources.
6. Freebook Sifter (Web): Daily updated list of free e-books
Online booksellers often have offers where you can download great books for free. Freebook Sifter is a daily updated list of currently free books on Amazon USA, Amazon UK and Project Gutenberg.
Created by the team behind movie review site Criticker, Sifter’s Freebook List is easy to navigate because it clearly shows the information you need to know. At a glance, you’ll see the book’s title, author, Amazon rating, and when it was last checked. You can sort books by title, rating, or date added, and browse them by multiple categories.
Subscribe for new free eBooks
Free ebooks are becoming a necessity for voracious readers. Unlike a library where you can continue picking up books without paying, e-books usually require you to purchase them directly. This is especially true for newer versions and can damage your wallet.
A viable alternative for unlimited ebooks is to get an ebook subscription service like Bookmate or Scribd. These are Netflix-style all-you-can-eat subscriptions, where you can download a wide variety of quality eBooks. This is the closest thing to a library experience with the help of an e-reader.
Here’s everything you need to know when deciding whether to buy an Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook eBook reader.
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