If you’ve run out of things to watch and are tired of scrolling through social media, how about reading a book? Sure, you can buy actual paper books online and have them shipped, but how do you borrow them when most libraries are closed due to the pandemic?
How about an e-book? You can easily purchase those online as well, or you can borrow a digital version of a book just like you would at a real brick-and-mortar library. Keep reading and we’ll tell you how to get e-books from your local public library and other ways get them for free.
Thousands of free e-books are just a click away on the sites I’m about to give you. History, biographies, romance, mysteries and more — they’re all here.
Public libraries are a goldmine
Public libraries these days don’t just offer old-school books for free. Now, you can borrow music CDs, movies and even e-books. Here’s how.
First, find your own local library online and see if it’s offering any free e-books to borrow. In some cities, you can download a digital book from your library and you get to keep it anywhere from one to three weeks.
If you’re enrolled in college, check to see what the options are through the online campus library. You might be surprised at how much you’ll find. And don’t forget about the National Emergency Library that the Internet Archive launched. No library card required.
Public libraries are a great option for finding free e-books. But, there are plenty of other options out there. Here are some of our favorites.
Free classic books, sheet music, audiobooks and more
Project Gutenberg has thousands of classic books that are in the public domain, and new titles are added daily.
In addition to free books, this site offers sheet music, speeches and even music and videos. Several books are offered as audiobooks if you prefer to listen instead of read. It’s a wonderful tool for researchers and students.
Public domain and popular authors for free
There are currently over 800 free e-books for you to choose from at OpenCulture and the list is growing all the time. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean that all of these books are classics in the public domain.
You can find newer works of fiction from big-name authors available here. Simply search alphabetically by author’s last name to find the titles you’re looking for. Downloading e-books from there is a snap.
OpenCulture also features free audiobooks, textbooks, movies and college courses. You’ll find what you want, or something new, no doubt.
NASA offers free e-books
If you’re at all interested in science or technology, then you definitely have to check these books out. NASA has compiled a list of books about the history and science of our national space program.
These books cover everything from supersonic travel to atmospheric re-entry. And every book is available in different formats, so every eReader or computer can download them.
Millions of e-books for free
Open Library is the largest site for free e-books, with millions available for download, in all categories. You can get art books, biographies, recipes, science fiction, history — you want it, they got it.
Each book’s page has information on the book, the author and relevant links. Find a mistake on the entry for your favorite book? You can edit mistakes and add information. You just need to set up an account using your name and email address.
Organize your e-books
And now that you have all those free books crammed onto your computer, how do you find anything? Calibre is the perfect digital librarian for your e-books. It helps you organize them so you can find exactly what you’re looking for.
Even better, Calibre converts your books into almost any format. You can customize title covers and get data about each book by automatically syncing to online booksellers. Caliber even downloads magazines and newspapers.
Kim has e-books, too
E-books can be downloaded on most digital devices, but it’s specific gadgets like Amazon’s Kindle with screens that make reading books easier on the eyes. Might as well check out some options when you can, before your time gets otherwise “booked.”