15 of the Best Places to Find Free E-Books

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Best Places to Find Free E-Books
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Whether you enjoy romances, thrillers, mysteries or something else entirely, you can find a great selection of free e-books online.

In this article, I’ll take a close look at 15 of the best websites and resources for finding free e-books online. I’ve visited each of the websites listed below and flipped through a few e-books from each to see what the process for each site is like and what’s available for free. 

Where to Find Free E-Books Online

When you start looking for free e-books online, it won’t be long before you start coming across less-than-reputable websites. Some may actually require you to enter payment information while others provide access to pirated content. Still, there are several websites and apps that you can use to download/read e-books legally and free. Among them are Project Gutenberg, Open Library, HooplaDigital and even Amazon. 

If you’re looking for a full list of ways to find free e-books that you’d normally have to pay for, you probably won’t find it on this list. Instead, I’ve compiled 15 completely legal and free ways to find free e-books online. 

ResourceBest ForPlatformsApp Rating
Loyal BooksClassic titles, kids' booksApp
Computer
E-Readers
App Store: 4.4
Google Play: 4.5
Project GutenbergPublic domain titles, multiple formatsApp
Computer
E-Readers
Google Play: 4.1
FeedbooksPublic domain titlesApp
Computer
E-Readers
App Store: 2.6
Google Play: 4.0
Open LibraryVariety, a large collectionApp
Computer
E-Readers
App Store: 1.5
Google Play: 2.5
ManybooksBest-selling modern and classic booksComputer
E-Readers
N/A
DigitalbookFinding something newComputer
E-Readers
N/A
BookBubDiscounted books, varietyApp
Computer
E-Readers
App Store: 3.1
SmashwordsSelf-published e-booksComputer
E-Readers
N/A
OverDriveLibrary titles, new titles, multiple formatsApp
Computer
E-Readers
App Store: 4.6
Google Play: 4.6
HooplaDigitalLibrary titles, new releases,varietyApp
Computer
E-Readers
App Store: 4.8
Google Play: 4.7
AmazonKindle owners, mobile experienceApp
E-Readers
App Store: 4.8
Google Play: 4.0
Barnes & NobleKids' books, free magazinesApp
E-Readers
App Store: 4.8
Google Play: 4.5
KoboKobo owners, young adult booksApp
E-Readers
App Store: 4.6
Google Play: 4.3
Google PlayFirst books in a seriesComputer
App
App Store: 4.6
Google Play: 4.1
BookboonStudent textbooksComputerN/A

Below, you’ll find detailed information on 15 different sites where you can legally read free e-books. 

Loyal Books

Loyal Books webpage

Major Genres: Kids, fiction, fantasy, mystery
Best For: Classic titles, kids’ books
Platforms: App (iOS and Android), computer (online/download), e-readers (files)

Loyal Books is a great resource for finding both free e-books and free audiobooks. On the website, you can download the file format of your choice (text, EPUB, Kindle and more) or read the e-book directly in your browser. You can also download the Loyal Books app for iOS or Android. It has a rating of 4.4 on the App Store and 4.5 on Google Play. 

When I checked out Loyal Books, I visited the website from my computer. Along the left-hand side of the screen, I was able to browse by popular genres (which includes a Top 100 list), more genres and languages. You can also search by title, author or keyword at the top of the screen. 

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After you find a title you’re interested in, you can click on it for more information. You’ll see the original author, a summary of the text, related links, a streaming widget, e-book downloads and audiobook options if available. From there, you can download the e-book text file to your computer, download the appropriate e-reader file or begin reading the book instantly in your browser. 

Pros Cons
  • You don’t have to create an account to access free content
  • A variety of file formats are available for download
  • You can read reviews from other readers
  • Audiobooks are also available
  • Some e-books aren’t free, but paid books are separated into their own category

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg free ebooks

Major Genres: Classic literature, educational resources
Best For: Public domain titles, multiple formats
Platforms: App (Android), computer (online/download), e-readers (files)

Project Gutenberg was founded in 1971, making it the oldest digital library. The website relies mostly on volunteers to upload digital files including e-books and audiobooks. At the time of writing, there were more than 60,000 free titles available. You don’t even have to create an account to access them. 

When I checked out Project Gutenberg, I visited the website on my computer. You can also download the app on your Android device; it has an average rating of 4.1 on Google Play. Unfortunately, there isn’t a version available for iOS. 

You can search for a specific title using the “quick search” bar at the top of the page. You can also browse available titles by scrolling over “search and browse.” The frequently downloaded section has several top 100 lists, and the bookshelf category is a great way to browse by subject. Once you’ve found a title that interests you, you can click on it to see the available files or read the e-book online.

Pros Cons
  • You don’t have to create an account to access free content
  • Books are available in multiple formats including EPUB files, Kindle files and even audiobooks
  • There isn’t an app for iOS devices
  • The website can be a little intimidating to navigate

Feedbooks

Feedbooks free ebooks online

Major Genres: Classic titles, science fiction, short stories
Best For: Public domain titles
Platforms: App (iOS and Android), computer (download), e-readers (files)

Feedbooks is a digital library that focuses on both public domain texts and original work. While not all of the titles are available for free, you can click on “Free Public Domain Books” or “Free Original Books” to narrow your selection.

The partner app, Aldiko, is available for iOS and Android devices. It has a 2.6 rating on the App Store and a 4.0 rating on Google Play. When I visited the website, I thought it was fairly easy to use despite a couple of misdirected links.

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When you find a title that you’re interested in, you can click on it for more information. Or you can just click the “Download” button below the book’s cover on the search page to save the file. All of the books that I downloaded saved as EPUB files, and I wasn’t able to make another format choice. But you can download an EPUB reader app for free. 

Pros Cons
  • There are thousands of free public domain texts and original titles
  • All of the books download with high-quality typesetting
  • You don’t have to create an account in order to access free content
  • Not all of the e-books are available for free
  • All the books download as EPUB files
  • You can’t read the book in your computer’s browser

Open Library

Open Library website homepage

Major Genres: Classic books, romance, thrillers, textbooks
Best For: Variety, a large collection
Platforms: App (iOS and Android), computer (online/download), e-readers (files)

Open Library is a project hosted by Internet Archive. Its goal is to make all published works available to everyone by collaborating with authors, librarians and people on the web. Open Library works like Wikipedia in the sense that you can edit the records yourself and add files/links to free books and e-books that aren’t listed, which means you’ll find an impressive collection. 

You can visit Open Library online or download the app for your iOS or Android device. Unfortunately, the app has relatively low ratings: 1.5 on the App Store and 2.5 on Google Play. Despite those ratings, I thought the website was relatively easy to use. 

Some books are available to “sponsor” (purchase), but the vast majority of books have a button beneath them that says “read,” “borrow” or “check availability.” Books that have the “read” button can be accessed immediately in your web browser. To access other books, you’ll need to create a free Open Library account. Once you’ve opened the book in the online reader, you can click the download button in the top-right corner to save the PDF or EPUB file to your computer. 

Pros Cons
  • Books are available to read online, as a PDF or as an EPUB file on an e-reader
  • Users can edit the catalog which keeps information and links up to date
  • Several books are available for free without an account
  • You’ll have to create an account to borrow books
  • These e-books are scanned copies of print books, not typed versions of the text
  • The app versions of Open Library both have low ratings

Manybooks

Manybooks free ebooks

Major Genres: Romance, mystery & thriller, science fiction, biographies, action & adventure
Best For: Best-selling modern and classic books
Platforms: Computer (online/download), e-readers (files)

Manybooks is another great resource for finding free e-books online. While there isn’t currently an app available for iOS or Android devices, the website is really easy to use. Plus, there are a variety of file formats available to download including PDF and e-reader files. 

When you first visit Manybooks, you’ll see a selection of popular genres available to browse. Or you can use the search bar at the top of the screen to look for a specific author, title or keyword. If you aren’t sure what you want to read, I recommend checking out Manybooks’ ultimate guide to the most popular free e-books. There, you’ll find a top-five list for several genres including romance, mystery, science fiction and more. 

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Once you’ve found a title you’d like to read, you can click on it for more information including a description, excerpt, publication history and ratings/reviews from other readers. You’ll also see the option to download a free file or to read the book online. No matter which method you choose, you shouldn’t need to create an account.

Pros Cons
  • You can access free content without having to create an account
  • Books are available in a number of formats including EPUB, PDF, MOBI and more.
  • Read reviews and comments from other readers
  • There isn’t currently an app available for iOS or Android devices

Digitalbook

digitalbook free ebooks

Major Genres: Fiction, classics, history
Best For: Finding something new
Platforms: Computer (online/download), e-readers (files)

Digitalbook.io is a great resource for finding free e-books, audiobooks and podcasts. While there isn’t currently an available app for either iOS or Android devices, the website is extremely easy to navigate. You can search for a title directly from the homepage, scroll down to see top-rated and trending books or browse by genre. 

When I visited the website, I clicked on the fiction genre to begin exploring. Along the left-hand side of the screen, I was able to narrow my search results by format (e-book or audiobook), author, sub-genre and more. 

Once you find a book you’d like to read, you can click on the title or the “Free eBook” button on the right-hand side of the screen. From there, you’ll see the download options (Kindle, EPUB, Text, etc.) as well as the “Read Now” button that will open the text in your browser. Note that some files are available only from third-party providers (like Gutenberg or LibriVox), but you’ll still be able to download them on Digitalbook.io.

Pros Cons
  • You don’t have to create an account
  • You can read e-books online or download a variety of files for your computer/e-reader
  • Easily narrow your search results to find what you need
  • Some titles may be available only as audiobooks
  • There isn’t an app on the App Store or Google Play

BookBub

BookBub free ebooks

Major Genres: Romance, Fantasy
Best For: Discounted books, variety
Platforms: App (iOS), computer (online/download), e-readers (files)

BookBub is a little different from other resources on this list because it simply compiles links to e-books that are free for only a limited time period. You’ll see free e-books from Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple Books, Google Play and Kobo. 

If you visit BookBub.com, you’ll be prompted to create an account to access the website. However, you can visit BookBub’s free e-book page to bypass this step. From here, you can access links to hundreds of free e-books. Once you’ve found a title you’re interested in, simply click one of the links below the book’s price to download it to your computer or device. Some retailers also let you open the e-book directly in your browser. 

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The BookBub app for iOS devices has a 3.1 rating on the App Store, and there isn’t currently an app available on Google Play. When I checked out BookBub, I accessed the website online and found that it was really easy to use once I bypassed creating an account.

Pros Cons
  • You can access free content without having to create an account
  • Find a collection of free e-books from several retailers
  • See books that are free for a limited time
  • There isn’t currently an app for Android devices
  • Not all e-books are available for free
  • You’ll be directed to a third-party site for reading/downloading

Smashwords

Smashwords free ebooks online

Major Genres: Adventure, science fiction, romance
Best For: Self-published e-books
Platforms: Computer (online/download), e-readers (files)

Smashwords is a website that allows authors to self-publish e-books. While some authors choose to sell their e-books, others are available for free. There isn’t currently an app available for Smashwords, but the website is convenient and easy to navigate. When you first visit the website, you can use the price filter at the top of the page to narrow your results so that you’re seeing only free e-books. 

To access most of the content on Smashwords, you’ll have to create a free account using your name and email address. Once you’re logged in, you can instantly read and/or download free e-books. Once you’ve found a title you’re interested in, click it to see more information and available formats. You can click a specific file type to begin the download or click “online reader” to see if the book is available to read in your browser without having to download it. 

Keep in mind that you most likely won’t find popular titles or public domain texts on Smashwords. Instead, you’ll find a collection of self-published books, essays, plays, poetry and screenplays. If you want to publish your own e-book, you can do that by clicking the “publish” tab. 

Pros Cons
  • You can narrow your search by price, genre and/or length
  • In addition to books, you’ll also find original essays, plays, poetry and screenplays
  • Additional file formats are available for select titles
  • You have to create an account in order to access most content
  • Not all titles are available for free
  • There isn’t an app available for iOS or Android devices

OverDrive

OverDrive online library ebooks

Major Genres: Biography, young adult, fiction, literature
Best For: Library titles, new titles, multiple formats
Platforms: App (iOS and Android), computer (online/download), e-readers (varies by library)

OverDrive provides access to free e-books and audiobooks through your local public library or school. That means you’ll need to enter your library card number or school/work email address in order to access free titles. Once you’ve signed in, you’ll need to save information about your local libraries so that you can see the entire selection available to you. 

You can access OverDrive on your computer or as an app on your iOS or Android device. In addition to the OverDrive app (which has a 4.6 rating on both Google Play and the App Store) you can also check out the Libby app for iOS or Android. It’s owned by the same company, provides access to the same titles and also has an average rating of 4.6. According to the website, the Libby app is the easiest way to get started, but if you have a device that’s not compatible with Libby, you can use the OverDrive app for a similar experience. 

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Once you’ve found a title that interests you, you can click it to see additional information. You’ll initially see information for the print copy at your nearest library, but if it’s available as an e-book or audiobook, you’ll see that noted as well. From there, you can click on the link to your library’s website to borrow the title, request a digital version or get on a waiting list for the book if it’s not currently available.

Pros Cons
  • Powered by your local library/school
  • Free access to newer books
  • You can browse the selection available at your library from home
  • Two highly-rated apps to choose from
  • You have to log in to access content
  • Not all titles are available as e-books
  • Popular titles may not be available right away, even digitally

HooplaDigital

HooplaDigital ebooks

Major Genres: Modern classics, fiction, children’s
Best For: Library titles, new releases and variety
Platforms: App (iOS and Android), computer (online/download), e-readers (varies by library)

Hoopla is the digital service of Midwest Tape, which is a leading provider of entertainment and media to public libraries across North America. You’ll find free e-books, audiobooks, movies, TV shows and more available from more than 1,500 libraries. You can visit the website or download the app the get started. At the time of writing, the app had a 4.8 rating on the App Store and a 4.7 rating on Google Play. When I checked out the service, I used the desktop version from my laptop. 

Hoopla works just like a public library, which means you can instantly borrow free e-books at any time using your library card. If you don’t already have a Hoopla account, you can create one for free online. You will need to log in to be able to “borrow” anything. 

Once you’re logged in, you can scroll over “browse” and click on “e-books” to see the entire available selection. When I checked out Hoopla, there were more than 168,000 e-book titles available. You can sort the titles or narrow your search results by format, user rating, date, language and more. Once you’ve found a title you’re interested in, you can click on it for more information. Below the cover image, you’ll see the “borrow” button that you can click to read and/or download the title instantly.

Pros Cons
  • You can browse the available public library selection at home
  • Select e-books are available for both downloading and reading online
  • Hoopla also offers movies, music, audiobooks and more
  • You do have to log in with your library card to access free content
  • Titles can be borrowed for only a limited time
  • You may have a limitation of how many titles you can check out at a time/per month based on your library’s policy

Amazon

Amazon free ebooks for Kindle

Major Genres: Adventure, romance, self-published
Best For: Kindle owners, mobile experience
Platforms: App (iOS and Android), e-readers (Kindle)

Amazon offers a selection of free e-books that are available for anyone to download. The catch is that these e-books are free only on Kindle. But you don’t have to have this specific e-reader in order to access the titles. Instead, you can download the Kindle app. 

The app is available for both iOS and Android devices. At the time of writing, it had a rating of 4.8 on the App Store and 4.0 on Google Play. To add e-books to your Kindle library, you can visit Amazon’s website and search “free e-books.”

I recommend sorting your search results by price: low to high. This will rank the free e-books at the top. Note that some books are free only with a Kindle Unlimited membership. Still, if you want to access these titles, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial.

Pros Cons
  • Over 50,000 titles are available for free
  • Some titles are also available as audiobooks for free
  • You can see ratings/reviews from other readers
  • Not all books are truly free; some require a 30-day Kindle Unlimited membership
  • You need a Kindle or the Kindle app to read the e-book files

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble free ebooks online

Major Genres: Historical fiction, romance, mystery, young adults
Best For: Kids’ books, free magazines
Platforms: App (iOS and Android), e-readers (Nook)

Like Amazon, Barnes & Noble offers a selection of free e-books for its e-reader: the Nook. Fortunately, you can download the Nook app on your iOS or Android device instead of having to pay for the e-reader itself. The app has a 4.8 rating on the App Store and a 4.5 rating on Google Play

To find free e-books, you can visit Barnes & Noble’s website and navigate to the free e-books page. There, you’ll find a featured free e-book, top free e-books and additional categories. There are thousands of free e-books for kids as well as staff picks, classics and even magazines. 

Once you’ve found a title you’d like to read, you can click on it for more information. From there, you can see a quick overview, publication details and reviews/ratings from other readers. You can also add it to your shopping cart and check out for free. You will have to create a free account to “purchase” and read the free titles. 

Pros Cons
  • You don’t need an account to browse the available titles
  • Thousands of e-books and magazines are available for free
  • The iOS and Android apps are both highly rated
  • You need a Nook or the Nook app to read free e-books
  • You’ll have to create an account to access free titles

Kobo

Rakuten Kobo free ebooks online

Major Genres: Romance, mystery & thriller, fantasy, horror, science fiction
Best For: Kobo owners, young adult books
Platforms: App (iOS and Android), e-readers (Kobo)

Kobo is a company that sells e-books, audiobooks, e-readers and tablets. Still, there’s an impressive collection of free e-books that you can access online or from your mobile device. 

Similar to Amazon and Barnes & Noble, you’ll need a Kobo e-reader or the Kobo app to read e-books from this resource. The app is free for iOS and Android devices. At the time of writing, it had a 4.6 rating on the App Store and a 4.3 rating on Google Play. To add free e-books to your Kobo library, you can visit the website online.

Once you’ve found the free e-books page, you can begin browsing titles by top picks, first in series, editor picks or genre. When you click on a title, you’ll see a brief overview, how many pages and words the book contains and an estimation of how long it’ll take to read. Additionally, you can read reviews/ratings from other readers. 

Pros Cons
  • You don’t need an account to browse the available titles
  • In addition to e-books, Kobo also offers audiobooks
  • The iOS and Android apps are both highly rated. 
  • You’ll need a Kobo e-reader or the Kobo app to read free e-books
  • You’ll have to create an account to access free titles

Google Play

Google Play ebooks for free

Major Genres: Romance, personal development, textbooks, young adult
Best For: First books in a series
Platforms: App (iOS and Android), computer (online)

Google Play Books is another resource worth checking out if you’re looking for free e-books. While not all of the titles are available for free, there is a selection of titles that you can read at no cost. Among these titles, you’ll find self-help books, mysteries, thrillers, romance novels, young adult fiction and more. Many of these free e-books are the first in a series. 

Once you’ve found a title you’re interested in, you can click on it for additional information. You’ll see a brief overview of the book as well as ratings and reviews from other readers. From there, you can click “Free Ebook” to add the title to your library. Of course, you’ll have to create a free account if you aren’t already logged in. 

Once you’ve signed in and added books to your library, you can select them and click the “read” button to open them instantly in your browser. Of course, you can also read them on your mobile device using the Google Play Books app. At the time of writing, the app had a 4.6 rating in the App Store and a 4.1 rating on Google Play.

Pros Cons
  • You can read books in your browser online or in the highly-rated apps for iOS or Android devices
  • The online reader allows you to make notes, bookmarks and more
  • Not all of the titles on Google Play Books are free
  • There’s a limited selection of titles
  • You’ll have to create an account to access free e-books

Bookboon

Bookboon free student textbooks

Major Genres: Engineering, I.T., business
Best For: Student textbooks
Platforms: Computer (online/download)

Bookboon is an online publishing company targeted at students. You’ll find textbooks specializing in engineering, information technology and business. In addition to textbooks, Bookboon also provides access to books that focus on both personal and professional growth. 

Unfortunately, access to textbooks on Bookboon is free only if you sign up as a student. Business e-books are free for a 30-day trial, but then a monthly subscription is required. Still, this website can be a great resource for STEM students in search of free textbooks.

While there isn’t currently an app available for Bookboon, the website is pretty straightforward. Once you’ve created an account and logged in, you can click on “Categories” to browse available e-books. You can also look for a title or keyword using the search bar at the top of the page. Titles with the “Free Textbook” label are available for free if you create a student account. Once you find a title you’re interested in, you can click “Start Reading” to open the book in your browser, add the title to your Bookboon library or download a PDF file.

Pros Cons
  • 1,000+ textbooks are available for free to students
  • Books are available to read directly in your browser or to download as a PDF file
  • There isn’t currently an app available for iOS or Android devices
  • You have to be a student to access content for free

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, any of these websites/apps are worth checking out if you’re looking for free e-books. 

To see what’s available at your local public library, be sure to check out HooplaDigital and OverDrive. For general public domain titles, try Project Gutenberg or Feedbooks. Loyal Books and Manybooks also offer a great selection of classic titles. If you’re a student looking for textbooks, Bookboon is the website to visit.

For a bigger variety, check out Open Library or BookBub. Digitalbook is another great resource that provides access to a large collection of free e-books, and the website is set up to help you find something new that you’ll love. If you’re more interested in self-published titles, Smashwords is the website for you. 

Finally, you’ll find a collection of free e-books available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. While each of these e-books are available only on the retailers’ e-readers, you can download the corresponding free app to access these titles too. If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, there’s a small selection of free e-books on Google Play Books worth checking out that you can read online or in the app. 

No matter where you decide to hunt for free e-books, just make sure you’re visiting safe and legal websites. You shouldn’t have to download any software or enter any payment information in order to read e-books that are truly free. 

What are your favorite websites/apps for reading free e-books? Let us know in the comments below!

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