Here's Your Summer Reading List - Free Ebooks

Category: Reference

For centuries, libraries have offered access to the printed wisdom (and folly) of humanity, but only to “authorized personnel” in the beginning. Most people had to travel and pay for books, and that was hard on budgets. But now the Internet makes available more good books, old and new, than one person can read in a lifetime. Ready to curl up in your favorite chair (or at the beach) with a good page turner? Here are some places where you can find quality reads free of charge...

Get Your Free eBooks Here

There has never been a better, easier, or cheaper time to be a bibliophile. If you don’t know that word, that’s OK; this article is for people who like books, too. Here are five sources for free ebooks to keep you busy this summer...

Project Gutenberg is the oldest free, open-source collection of literary works online. It was founded in 1971 by American author Michael S. Hart, who is sometimes credited as the inventor of ebooks. He himself typed into text files the words of public domain books to start the world’s first digital library. Volunteers all over the world joined in, and the Gutenberg Project grew to include over 60,000 free ebooks. You can use the Bookshelf option to browse by genre, age group, or topic. Today, Gutenberg works are available in plain text, HTML, PDF, and several mobile device formats. It’s still all free, supported by donations.

Project Gutenberg Australia operates under copyright laws different from those in the U.S., so you can find titles here that are not in the public domain in the U.S.

Free Ebooks

Open Library contains over twenty million book listings. Most are available for immediate reading via the Web, in PDF format, or in EPUB format (for portable e-reader devices). There's a smaller pool of several hundred thousand books, that are available under more restrictive terms, for copyright reasons. Many libraries contribute licenses that they own to Open Library, allowing OL patrons to borrow up to 5 of these books for 2 weeks each. When your borrowing period is up, you are no longer able to access the ebook files you borrowed. If OpenLibrary doesn't have the ebook title you want, you can use their WorldCat catalog to find a real-world library near you that has a copy available for borrowing.

Free Books on Amazon?

Amazon has a Kindle Classics library of free ebooks for the Kindle e-reader. Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, Lewis Carroll, and many other authors familiar to every graduate of high school in the U. S. are available free of charge. Among the titles you can find here are "A Tale of Two Cities" and "Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea". Mark Twain’s “On the Decay of The Art of Lying” remains popular among government and public administration majors.

Amazon also has a Top 100 Free Best-Sellers collection. These are the best-selling books whose authors have generously (or shrewdly) made available free for a period of time. You won't find too many big-name authors here, but perhaps some of them will become household names in the near future. Look for books in this area that have lots of positive reviews. There's a number next to the star rating that indicates how many reviews.

Other Free eBook Sources

If you are a techie, offers a huge collection of free ebooks for Computers, Programming, Mathematics, Engineering. Choose from over a dozen top level categories, and over 200 sub-categories. offers thousands Of free eBooks from the "rising stars of the writing world." You can find Fiction, Non Fiction, Romance, Sci-Fi, Self Help, Business and other topics.

Loyal Books (formerly called Books Should Be Free) offers free public domain ebook downloads. They promise also to put the fun back into browsing for audio books.

Robin Reads is a curated list of free and discounted books that are available to anyone who has an Amazon account.

With Libby, you can borrow free ebooks, digital audiobooks, and magazines from your local library. All you need is a library card. Use Libby on your Windows, Mac or Chromebook computer, or via the Libby app on your Apple or Android smartphone.

Finally, we have ManyBooks, which emphasizes tools for digital readers. Utilities that convert one ebook format to another are popular, as are open-source ebook readers for various platforms. Most of the site’s actual ebooks come from other sources such as Project Gutenberg.

And don't forget your local public library. Even if their doors are closed, you can often "borrow" ebooks for even new and popular titles. In order to abide by their contracts with publishing houses, the libraries must limit how many copies of a given ebook title can be on loan at once. So if you want a current best-seller, you may have to wait.

Whatever your taste in literature, there is likely an ebook about it out there someplace. Like I said, there has never been a better, easier, cheaper time to be a bibliophile. If you're still not sure what that word means, look it up in a free online dictionary.

If you prefer to listen, that makes you an audiophile. There are several sites that offer free audio books. Check out LibriVox, and OpenCulture.

Have you used any of these free ebook or audiobook sources? Do you have another one you'd like to recommend? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Here's Your Summer Reading List - Free Ebooks"

Posted by:

02 Aug 2022

Access to free books is great but what about access to free music, especially the great music of the world. Music is and has been a significant component of a good education.

Posted by:

02 Aug 2022

Another great resource is, which has a huge collection of books (both free and "borrowable", magazines, music, videos, etc.

And yet another wonderful and amazing collection can be viewed at:

Although the emphasis at this site is technical magazines and journals about radio and electronics, they also have a great selection of textbooks and other technical reference books, in case your summer reading interests are more "fact" than "fiction". Highly recommended!

Posted by:

Nigel A
02 Aug 2022

Another source, particularly for fiction readers is BookBub ( They send out a daily emails of books in various formats and genres - you choose which you want. Most books are a special low price but each day there are usually 2 or 3 free ones. I've been with BookBub for a few years and found several new authors which I enjoy. I download into my Kindle faster than I can read so I have quite a backlog.

Posted by:

02 Aug 2022

Hoopla, similar to Libby, is also a great source of books borrowed from your library.

Posted by:

03 Aug 2022

I recommend Bookbub too. Most of the books aren't free but they are very cheap. My limit on price is $1.99 and I also have quite a backlog.

Posted by:

07 Aug 2022

For kids 12 and under, Epic:

If I recall correctly, I think they can read up to 5 free per month. You can pay for an individual subscription to get more, but check with your school first - many of them have subscriptions for their students. The books can be read aloud to them too, if they want.

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