The best things in life are free. There is nothing like a free lunch. These are two maxims you hear often. And the truth is … both are true. I have a lot of free stuffs I have downloaded over the Internet in the past years, but the Internet access is paid for. However like I usually tell my friends, you have paid for the Internet access, why don’t you maximise the “Returns on your Investment”
To help you do that I am writing about 3 websites I have found very useful to get free e-books.
1. Project Gutenberg. (www.gutenberg.org)
My favorite is Project Gutenberg. Here you will find a lot of books that are out of copyright in different formats including pdf, html, mobi(for kindles) and even text files. I have found on this site several books that I even have the hard copy. It has a nice search interface and also list of popular books by downloads. According to its website as at the time of this writing, there well over 36,000 books on their website.
2. Many Books. (www.manybooks.net)
This is another website offering over 29,000 free e-books. The books are categorized by genres, authors, titles and languages. You could also browse the most popular titles and recommendations. The site’s front page usually carries “Books of the week”, which is an incentive to visit at least once a week.
3. The online books page. (onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu)
Unlike the earlier two sites, this site is more of a catalogue as it indexes over a million free e-books on the Internet. The listings follows a typical academic library format, using the Library of Congress subject headings. This is however not surprising as the site is hosted by a university. For libraries seeking to build a digital library, the site is worth dedicating some time to.
If you are like me and get addicted to building an e-book library, you need a way to manage your collection. I recommend the excellent calibre e-book management software, which is also free and can be downloaded here.