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13 Great Resources for Finding Free Public Domain Books

April 27, 2014
We all love to cuddle up with a good book and read a chapter or two before we fall asleep. That was before the massive uptake of ebooks and the widespread of ebook  readers and tablets. Now that life becomes excessively digitized, digital reading is virtually the norm.




 The importance of digital reading,  not only for us but for our students as well , is well documented in the education  research literature. As Malloy and Gambrell (2006) pointed out, the future is already here: " Many elementary students are already adept at searching and surfing, using reading and spelling in ways not explicitly taught. Reading online is not only something that many students do in their leisure time but is also a skill they will need to develop as they learn to research and create in their middle school years and beyond. " (p. 482).

For those of you interested in learning more about the importance of digital reading and its implications for pedagogy and teaching, I highly recommend reading Hartman et al.'s chapter "From Print to Pixels: The Evolution of Cognitive Conceptions of Reading Comprehension" from the book "The New Literacies: Multiple Perspectives on Research and Practice "by Elizabeth A. Baker.

One important form of digital reading is reading ebooks. There are actually several resources online which provide both premium and free ebooks to readers. I have dome some laborious search into these resources and come up with the list below. This list features only platforms that provide free ebooks or a mixture of free and premium (freemium) eBooks. The purpose behind this compilation is to provide teachers and eventually students with trusted resources where they can search for and read free ebooks.

1- Google Books

There is no other platform that would top this list other than the powerful Google Books. Google Books is a great academic resource for both free and paid books, journal articles and magazines. Google Books integrates several important features that no other online Book store has. I have written a detailed post on the features that students and teachers need to know in order to tap into the full potential of Google Books, I invite you to read it here.

2- Project Gutenberg 

This is another great resource for free ebooks. Project Gutenberg offers over 45,000 free ebooks and in different formats including : free epub books, free kindle books, download them or read them online.
3- The Internet Archive


The Internet Archive and Open Library offers over 6,000,000 fully accessible public domain eBooks. This includes a special modern collection of over 500,000 eBooks for users with print disabilities, and a very interesting curated, modern collection for the world at large.
4- Open Library


OpenLibrary is a free, digital lending library with millions of eBooks that can be read in a browser or downloaded for reading offline. Originally developed to support the Print Disabled community, OpenLibrary now contains public domain and contemporary eBooks.

5- Bartleby

Bartleby is the preeminent Internet publisher of literature, reference and verse prodiving students, researchers and the intellectually curious with unlimited access to  books and information on the web, free of charge.

6- eBooks Directory
E-Books Directory is a daily growing list of freely downloadable ebooks, documents and lecture notes found all over the internet. You can submit and promote your own ebooks, add comments on already posted books or just browse through the directory and download anything you need.
7- LibriVox

LibriVox offers free public domain audiobooks that you can listen to on computer, iPods, iPads and any other hand held device. Here is how libriVox works : LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain, and then  LibriVox team release the audio files back onto the net for free. All the  audio is in the public domain, so you may use it for whatever purpose you wish.

8- Free eBooks.net

Discover all-new, rising authors, not mainstream, commercial bestsellers. Independent and self-published writers offer both entertaining fiction/romance for your enjoyment and non-fiction to help you find info from self-help to biz growth.Search & Select from thousands of eBooks in over 50 different categories. New titles constantly added. This website requires registration.
9- Digital Book Index

Digital Book Index provides links to more than 165,000 full-text digital books from more than 1800commercial and non-commercial publishers, universities, and various private sites. More than 140,000of these books, texts, and documents are available free.
10- Planet eBook

If you love classical literature then this site is for you.  Planet eBook provides free  classic literature works that you can download, read and share.

11- Knowledge Rush


The Knowledgerush.com book directory is a catalog of free books available on the internet. It's a community effort based on the work of volunteers.
12- Many Books

Many Books is another book sharing resource that contains more than 29,000 eBooks available for Kindle, Nook, iPad and most other eReaders, and they're all free!



Bibliomania is a website that provides a wide variety of free reading materials that cover different categories including: 

My colleague Bob reminded of this wonderful website. Open Culture is another great resource for free eBooks in a variety of formats. It also features a section for audiobooks .

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