Books, Featured, General Tips, Living Books

8 Ways to Read Free Books Online

I like big books, and I cannot lie. I also love free books!

As a homeschool mom, I am literally surrounded by books in every room of my house. However, there are times when the free digital copy is just the thing I need. While I love to own physical books, I don’t have to own every book, and neither do you.

Sidenote:  the Modern Mrs. Darcy podcast I just listened to was with MyQuillyn Smith of The Nester. They discussed decorating with books and I learned a new word – rainbowetical–aka organizing your books by spine color. Now have to rethink all my life choices.

the-nester-rainbowetical
from The Nester

But you are here for free books so let’s get on with it.

There are a number of sources for free books– especially those that have entered the public domain.  However, there are also ways to get current or more recent books free if you have one of two things 1) a library card or 2) an Amazon Prime account.

(FYI–Some links may be affiliate links, which means  I may make a small amount of money if you buy something to help support our homeschool. Thank you!)

1. Libby

meet-libby

Libby is an app by Overdrive that let’s you check out books and audiobooks directly to your device using your local library card. Get access to more than 2 million titles.

I actually tried this years ago (before Libby) and had no luck, but now things are much more streamlined. I downloaded the free app, entered my card number, searched up a title and was reading in 5 minutes. Also, if you prefer reading on a Kindle– you can do that too.

Libby lets you sync reading across devices and keep track of what you have checked out. Best of all– no late fees!

There are other similar programs depending on who your library has partnered with including Hoopla and CloudLibrary. Check with your local branch to see what is available.

2. Project Gutenberg

Every homeschooler should know this one. Thousands of public domain books available in downloadable formats. Dickens, Hugo, Shakespeare, Verne — all the greats — free for the reading.

3. Librivox

Similar to Project Gutenberg but with an audiobook twist. Great for those challenging titles that you just don’t have time to read for every child. My son listened along with Ivanhoe last year on Librivox. The readers vary, but it is free! They also have foreign language books if you want to work on your skills in French, Spanish or others.

4. Read.gov

This one is actually new to me. The Library of Congress is actually one of the largest repositories of free books and you can access them through Read.gov.  

These are digitized copies so you can read picture books with full images rather than just scanned text.  It’s the closest thing to holding an antique book in your hand.

sample-page-read

5. Google Books

Google has sponsored a massive project to digitize books, like all 130 million plus of them.  Google has made all public domain titles it scans available for free download.  I have found books here that I did not find elsewhere so it is worth a look. They use OCR to digitize the books so there are sometimes errors, particular if the original page had handwritten notes or other decorative elements. Usually they are still readable as long as you recognize what it going on with the gobbledygook.

6. Amazon Prime Reading

This source does require Amazon Prime, but if you don’t have it, what on earth are you waiting for! Free books, movies, tv shows, shipping and more! Get free 30 day trial here!

With a Prime membership you can access thousands of current titles that you can read on any device with a Kindle app so you don’t have to own a Kindle.  We recently used this when my son went on a long trip and didn’t want to carry around a bunch of books.  He found a number of books he wanted to read and couldn’t easily get from library too.

7. Baldwin Online Children’s Literature Project

The Baldwin Project  from Yesterday’s Classics is a selection of historic books from 384 authors that have been digitized to be read online. The site also sells printed versions if preferred. We read An Island Story and English Literature for Boys and Girls from H.E. Marshall on this site as well as some others.

8. David C Cook

Sign up for free emails from David C Cook and get links to free Christian ebooks and discounted books weekly. This mission based organization raises money through book purchases but offers free Christian fiction and non-fiction weekly including authors such as J. Warner Wallace, Warren Wiersbe, Wendy Pope and many others.

 

Guess what– There are 5 More Ways to Get Free Books Online!

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