When looking for free and cheap eBooks you will need to know what formats to download for your eReader.
- Nook e-ink: Nook's own format, EPUB, PDF, PDB
- Nook Color: EPUB, PDF, DOC, text.
- Sony Reader: BBeB Book (LRF), PDF, TXT, RTF, EPUB
- Kindles: Kindle's own format, PDF, Mobipocket
- Pandigital Novel: EPUB and PDF
- Kobo: EPUB, PDF, txt
Sources 1: Most eReaders are linked to an online eBookstore. Most eBookstore have some or many free and cheap eBooks. There are several ways of finding them.
- Look on the menus for links saying free eBooks or collections.
- A second way is to search for a genre, e.g., historical fiction, mysteries, etc. When a list is retrieved look for a way to sort by price.
NOTE about free eBooks at Amazon's eBookstore: Many free eBooks in Amazon's store are labeled "Prime". For $79 a year, you can become a "Prime member." One of the benefits of being a Prime member is a selection of free eBooks.
NOTE about getting free eBooks into your device.
Shopping for free eBooks at your device's online eBookstore will load free eBooks into your device just like purchased eBooks. If you have an LCD eReader that surfs the Web eBooks can be downloaded from the following Websites directly into your device. Since e-ink eReaders do not surf the Web well, use a PC computer or laptop to find the eBooks at the Web sites below, download them into your computer or laptop and then use the cable that came with your device to hook your device to your computer and transfer the eBooks on your computer into the eReader. I recommend using Calibre ebook management software for this step.
Sources 2: Two of my favorite eBook search engines.
- Inkmesh at http://inkmesh.com is an index of 34 major Web sites offering eBooks for sale and for free.
- Type in author, title or subject.
- Click "Find ebooks" for eBooks for sale and for free.
- Click "Find free ebooks" for a list of only free eBooks.
- The retrieved list displays:
- Amazon ratings if there are any,
- subject headings,
- devices, e.g., Nook, Sony Reader, Blackberry, Kindle, etc.,
- cheapest price and
- how many sites offer the eBook.
- On the left side menus, click choices for limiting rating, device, price, etc.
eBooks can be downloaded and read immediately. Buying eBooks will, of course, require registering with the seller with a credit card. If you are already registered with the eBook seller's Web site, the download progresses smoothly. Pretty cool actually.
- Addall at http://ebooks.addall.com/ is another index of eBook Web sites. It shares many of the same Web sites as Inkmesh, but there are some differences.
Numerous Web sites offer free eBooks in Web browsers.
- The British Library's "Turning the Pages"
application displays 30,000 of their most precious and gorgeous books.
Clicking books downloads the application which will take a couple of
minutes the first time, then the book. The books are displayed in
gorgeous color and detail. Clicking arrows will turn the pages one by
one. Click "listen" and a natural speaker will read the book aloud.
- Open Library displays the
full-text of 1 million books. I recommend using the search box in the
upper right corner. To see books you can read online, look below the
search box and click the check box beside "Show ebooks only." When list
is displayed, click the title or the "read" icon. Not checking that
check box is include real books. When books are displayed, clicking a
speaker in the upper right corner will start the computer reading the
work. The computer voice is understandable, but lacks inflection of the
- Project Gutenberg
over 33,000 books. Search by keywords in the title or author's name or
check out the "bookshelves" on various topics. To read in a browser,
choose the "HTML" format
- Online Book Page is an index of dozens of digital archives.
Searching is by keywords in title and author or browse by subject.
There are also special collections of banned books and prize winners.
Almost all books can be read online in either HTML or PDF format.
- Google Books has lots of classics and older books that are free, but it also has excerpts of newer books that must be purchased to read completely. After searches or while browsing, look in the left menu and click the "Free Google eBooks." The online display of eBooks is clean and intuitively easy to use. eBooks can be displayed as images of original or just the text. When opening books plops you in the middle of the book, click "Contents" will display chapters. Downloads can be made in PDF or ePub. FYI: After being sued by publishers and the Association of American Publishers in 2005, Google hammered out a deal with that was acceptable to these parties. However, other competitors and authors brought a second suit and, in March 2011, federal court condemned the deal as a violation of copyright.
- Globusz offers newly-written eBooks from authors in the US, UK and Australasia at http://www.globusz.com/
- Winnipeg Public Library's short list of major Web sites offering free eBooks at http://bit.ly/HUJLgt
- Gizmo's 446 places for free eBooks at http://bit.ly/14tUT.
- DigitalBookIndex at http://www.digitalbookindex.org/about.htm groups books by subject, author or title.
- Internet sacred texts archive at http://www.sacred-texts.com/
- The Southwest Kansas Library System recommends two Web sites for free and inexpensive Kindle eBooks: Pixel of ink at http://www.pixelofink.com/ and Zero dollar books at http://hundredzeros.com/
Fourteen Kansas libraries created a consortium to obtain eBooks from another vendor called Overdrive.
Residents of other states should ask their local librarians what eBooks are available to them.
Updated: April 2012