Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How To Get Free E-Books

During a recent bus ride, Jessica Goldstein, a fellow passenger, was staring into her cell phone. But she was not sending out text messages or checking e-mail. Classic literature had bookmarked her attention.

Goldstein, a technical writer, uses her cell phone as an electronic book gadget. She downloads free books through Project Gutenberg, www.gutenberg.org, a nonprofit organization that enables readers to download free electronic copies of books onto desktop computers, smart phones or palm organizers.

"It's like going to the library on a bus," Goldstein told me as she read "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" by Friedrich Nietzche.

Project Gutenberg has a catalog of about 30,000 titles that are available for free. Additionally, the site has affiliate relationships with other sites that offer access to 100,000 free books.

Here are other resources for readers seeking free electronic books to read at home or on the road.

- Barnes & Noble. The company offers a free application that works on smart phones and desktop computers. The app can be downloaded at www.bn.com/ebooks and provides access to free e-books.

- DailyLit (www.dailylit.com) is a service launched by a former Random House editor and a social media guru. Classic titles, such as "Moby Dick," "Pride and Prejudice" and "The Prince and the Pauper" are delivered by plain text e-mails to your computer, cell phone or other handheld devices. Each e-mail has an installment of the book and you pick the frequency of the e-mails. The service also includes a fee-based subscription for new titles, but books in the public domain are free and there are lots of them, including many titles on school reading lists.


Amber E said...

Thank you! I will be checking on Project Gutenberg. I have been reading free eBooks at:


Above is the link for books that authors have voluntarily allow Baen to put up to read free electronically. These are generally authors with many published books who will let you read the entire first book of a series for free. Some of the books are stand alone books. These are all science fiction and fantasy. I found several books that I loved and some I didn't care for but felt like I hadn't wasted money.

Amber E said...

I have used Daily Lit and it is nice, I actually would read the emails on my break at work and it was a really nice respite. My favorite feature: at the end of each email is a link if you want them to send the next installment right away instead of waiting for the next scheduled email. Also you can suspend the emails so they don't back up if you are on vacation or busy or something like that.

Paula at CreditLaw.com said...


Great suggestions. I just started my free book odyssey by downloading Chris Andersen's "Free: The Future of a Radical Price." Of course, the unabridged version is free and the abridged version is about $9, but it got me thinking about using services similar to those you mentioned to download free books.

I look forward to giving them a try.